Syracuse Beats Marquette: Does the Undefeated Path Lead Through February?

Charting the road through the Big East after another impressive victory.

Syracuse’s most obvious motivating factor was payback yesterday, after losing to Marquette twice last season, including in the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament. And revenge was sweet.

You have to love the way the Orange handled the Eagles. SU jumped out to a dominating lead, seizing the momentum and energy of a raucous Carrier Dome. While MU never gave in, Syracuse closed like a championship caliber team. Give Marquette credit. Every time it looked like Syracuse would coast to an easy victory, the Eagles would drain a big shot, or come up with a strong defensive play. 

But the Orange is just too deep, playing too well, and has too many big time moments to rattle right now. When the Eagles cut a 23-point lead to just two with 5:00 to play, a different SU team might have been shaken. But on a squad where Orange fans merely wait for the next guy to step up, there’s never real panic. This day it was Brandon Triche and C.J. Fair who poured in a combined 29 points, and SU made enough plays to win.

The Eagles were game, as will many of the Big East teams Syracuse will face. As the UConn and Louisville losses show, this is still am extremely competitive and ferocious conference. But now at 17-0, we have to again ask: “How long will they stay undefeated?

A look at the schedule lying ahead would lead you to answer that SU may remain undefeated and #1 for awhile. It’s not unreasonable to believe the Orange could roll into a two-game stretch with Georgetown and Connecticut still undefeated – and that would be February 8th. If you’re counting at home, that would put SU at 24-0 with seven regular season games remaining.

Before you say we’re getting too far ahead of ourselves, consider two things: how unbelievably consistent this team has been so far, and the Big East schedule might not be quite the grind it has been.

This week’s upcoming trip to Philadelphia, which is normally one of the major tests of the season, seems awfully less daunting with the Wildcats off to a 7-8 start overall, and 0-3 in Big East after getting embarrassed by South Florida on their home floor.  That January 16th date with Pittsburgh is a bit concerning given Jamie Dixon’s track record against the Orange. But the Panthers also sit at 0-3 in Big East play and ride a four-game losing streak, the longest of Dixon’s tenure. There’s also a two-game road trip to Notre Dame and Cincinnati, but neither of those teams is really considered part of the Big East’s upper echelon.  

The schedule actually opens up nicely for the Orange actually. Syracuse has every reason to believe its record can remain unblemished for another month.

Marquette presented the toughest test the Orange may face for a month. Syracuse passes it, and Orange Nation may want to start getting comfortable in its perch at #1.

Posted: Steve Neikam

5 Comments on this Post

  1. Carlton

    It be nice if the ‘cuse didnt have to play 5on8. I cant think of a time during back to back be games where the refs sucked so bad. Just a slug fest in the 2nd half though.

  2. The refs were a joke. But i loved the Chant the dome had going against buzz cause he wouldn’t sit his ass down. It was a great atmosphere and sounded like eat more then 25 grand.

  3. I think breaking the current school record (19-0) for the best start in school history is doable for this team. Will they go 24-0 before losing?

    If you have watched any of the BE games this year it seems like the league is down and favors Syracuse by going undefeated during the regular season.

    Syracuse has a chance to set a record that has never been done and will stand for all time, An undefeated regular season basketball team with a overall record of 31-0.

    As a fan I can only wish for this to happen.Looking at the remaining schedule and the way the other league teams are playing, I think it’s possible.

    GO CUSE!!!!

  4. This team has been unbelievable, but I wouldnt say the Marquette game was stellar. Sure they fought off the Golden Eagles second half adjustments, but the game was a lot closer than it should have been IMO. A LOT of easy buckets for Marquette.

    Also, lets get MCW in on some big game situations. Theres no reason that he couldnt have been playing at the end of the first half or beginning of the second. Hes too good to leave on the bench, he could be another great weapon come season end.

    On that, GO CUSE

  5. andy i think the main reason the last two games were so close had more to do with the momentum crushing refs with horrible calls/no calls then the orange. I was looking foward to prov coming to SU to see how much they would really blow them out not be held back by refs but if higgins is involved SU doesnt really have a home court advantage in that perspective. Anyways it seems that all of the analysts who repeatedly doubted SU earlier are finally watching the games and realizing that SU is legit. The main doubters im seeing right now are SU fans who are taking the I dont want to get my hopes up rout saying Im an SU fan and i think they are overrated or I like this team but I think they are gonna come up short in march. Last year I would have been fine with these comments because although I thought the team was talented enough to make a run i thought that team was really raw and young. I think people need to be confident with this team, its a perfect blend of talent (comparable to uk and unc), experience, and depth. In reality SU could beat any team in the bigeast and go undefeated into tourney time, not likely to happen but the only reason SU would not do this is if the beat themselve by sleeping on teams or having an off night. I really do hope Uconn and UL become the teams they were projected to be to give SU some real challenges/tests to help them for march. also i would love to see them crush everyone but that might not be so beneficial to them playing the elite teams in the tourney

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