Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Jim Boeheim Hates Packing

With Syracuse's next two games being their first true road games of the season, many pundits will still criticize the Orangemen regardless of outcome.

That is because the Orangemen will be playing at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ against the Seton Hall Pirates on Saturday afternoon. Then on Wednesday night Syracuse will travel to their "home away from home" and play St. Johns at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

It's unfortunate for Jim Boeheim and the Orangemen that they have such passionate fans. It really is. It's even more unfortunate that the talking heads at ESPN criticize and denigrate Syracuse for having a traveling and rabid fan base.

If the Orangemen take the court in any building within a 5-hour drive from New York City or Syracuse, NY, Syracuse fans are going to turn out and they are going to be LOUD. That's a given. Atlantic City is 127 miles from NYC and 315 miles from Syracuse. Does that matter to the buffoons who get paid to talk about basketball for national media outlets? Nope. Might as well have played the games at the Onondaga War Memorial.

When Syracuse plays St. Johns on their home court and the Orangemen have more fans than the Johnnies, is that a home game? Is it a neutral site? A true road test? A road game in the eyes of Doug Gottlieb?

It's pathetic how much attention is paid to Syracuse's travel itinerary. After these next two games, eight of Syracuse's remaining fourteen games (nearly 60%) will be against teams currently ranked in the Top-25. How many other schools outside of the Big East can say that?

Certainly not at Duke, where they are the lone ranked ACC school. They should play a tougher non-conference schedule and hit the road, prove their worth! Because they certainly won't get a chance to once they start playing conference games.

Furthermore, Syracuse will be traveling to Cincinnati, OH, Milwaukee, WI, Tampa, FL, Louisville, KY, Morgantown, WV and Chicago, Il to name just a few cities. Why does Syracuse have to explain themselves to these so called "experts"?

At the end of the day, the Orangemen will have traveled all over the country and have played the toughest competition in the nation. Why break your team down early in the season when you are still finding your identity when the real test is your conference schedule?

I like to call the Big East conference schedule the "gauntlet." After the grueling regular season, Big East teams go to a tournament even tougher to win than the NCAA tournament. In the NCAA tournament you play two games per weekend. And the first weekend if the school is a quality team, the opponent most likely won't be ranked!

In the Big East tournament in NYC you may play four (or five) straight days. And since the Big East has 50% of their conference ranked in the nations Top-25, you might play four straight games against ranked opponents. What other tournament in the country will offer that level of competition?

Yet Doug Gottlieb and this clown Jeff Goodman feel the need to point out year after year that Syracuse doesn't travel in the first month or so of the season. Frankly, who cares? When all is said and done the Orangemen and the rest of the Big East will have played the toughest competition in the country.

photo courtesy of syracuse.com

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