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Rarified Air: Where Would a 2nd National Title Place Boeheim All-Time?

There’s no doubting Jim Boeheim is one of the greatest coaches in college basketball history. He has over 880 victories, will likely retire with the second most wins ever, and the most at one school. He has 28 NCAA Tournament Trips, 8 Big East Regular Season Titles, 3 National Title Game appearances, an NCAA Title and a Gold Medal with Team USA. Boeheim also has a pretty clean track record, outside of the Post-Standard expose in the early ’90s.

Boeheim is rarely talked about in the same breath as the immortals, the biggest reason being lack of multiple titles. He is most certainly a legendary coach, but the Mount Rushmore never seems to include Boeheim. John Wooden has an obscene 10 national titles, Mike Krzyzewski and Adolph Rupp have 4, Jim Calhoun and Bob Knight both own 3. Dean Smith is among a a group which has 2. But should Syracuse storm to another championship this April, Boeheim’s legacy would be cemented and give him a great case for the top 5.

The great news for Boeheim is the next three or four year window should provide him a solid opportunity to reel in that second ring (depending on how long he wants to coach). This year’s team is poised for a #1 seed, and there’s still youth on this squad. We have yet to see Rakeem Chistmas or MCW scratch their potential. DC 2.0, Jerami Grant and Trevor Cooney haven’t even suited up yet. There’s always potential additions like Nerlens Noel as well. Syracuse should be in the top 10 for the foreseeable future. Anything short of a Final Four this spring will likely be considered a disappointment.

Boeheim’s teams have struggled most getting to the Elite Eight. While The Per’fesser has reached the second weekend 16 times, he’s advanced to the Regional Finals just four of those trips. Some have proposed the 5-day layoff gives teams time to gameplan against the zone, which probably only has a little truth to it. Many of those times Boeheim simply didn’t have the better team, but there are a few exceptions. One of the most glaring Sweet 16 losses was to Butler in 2010, but the Orange was without Arinze Onuaku (and the Bulldogs went to the final).

Syracuse is loaded this year and could easily be undefeated without Fab suspension. SU will be better than every opponent likely until the Final Four. Obviously March is crazy, and often times the best team doesn’t win. But Boeheim has a terrific chance to secure his legacy and and The Fizz likes his chances.

Boeheim is a top 10 coach of all time. But a second title would take him into another stratosphere, where few coaches can claim residence. Two titles and four Final Fours would unquestionably add him to the group of legends.

Posted: Alex Plavin

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