And so it went. Slick Rick and the Cardinals handed the Orange two of its three losses on the season, while continually bringing the historic moment back to him.
On an afternoon which was supposed to be about the closing of a venerable basketball barn (even if it did resemble Shoppingtown Mall), Pitino did what he always does (as The Fizz has documented in the past). Point the spotlight heavy on Rick Pitino.
What was his favorite Freedom Hall moment? How about bringing the ’87 Friars there for the Sweet 16 and Elite 8. His thoughts after the game? “I’ve been very fortunate to coach in four Final Fours and two championships…” Thanks Rick. When asked about the closing of the building, Rick immediately mentioned Louisville’s resume for tournament consideration.
Honestly, this loss is not the worst thing in the world for SU. A healthy dose of humility is valuable right now. It’s a team which has played above its head all season – avoided the letdowns and ego dangers that usually accompany an inexperienced squad.
While being #1 in the country was pretty cool, it probably wasn’t the healthiest thing for Syracuse to have next to it’s name come tourney time. The ‘Cuse will still be a one-seed (barring a meltdown in Manhattan) and The Per’fesser will undoubtedly use this as motivation to refocus the troops.
The irony (and lone bright spot) of Saturday was finding this guy at the SU watch party @ Pour House in Boston. Yep, that’s an original Rony Seikaly jersey from 1986. Funny, authenticity never was a Pitino strong suit.