Following Syracuse’s 61-39 disastrous loss to Georgetown, a member of the press asked Jim Boeheim if he was going to miss the Georgetown-Syracuse rivalry and the Big East. The Per’fesser said if he was younger maybe he would be bothered. But at 68, not so much.
“I’m pretty much ready to go play golf some place. If I was 40 years old, I’d be real upset. I’m not.”
After another dreadful offensive showing for the Orange, and the season crumbling to a close, maybe retirement and golfing seems more appealing to Boeheim.
SU was shockingly apathetic throughout Saturday’s emotional affair. Syracuse’s offensive woes have now reached insane levels. The Orange was 15-for-47 from the field, just 1-for-11 from deep, and the first time in 34 years a Boeheim team didn’t crack 40 points.
Seniors James Southerland and Brandon Triche were totally nonexistent. So much of Saturday’s responsibility falls on them. If anyone should recognize the moment, it’s two guys who have experienced four years of this rivalry. They should be the players stepping up and leading, demanding more energy and effort out of their team. Instead they played quietly, combining for just three points, three turnovers, and 1-for-17 from the field.
Has time run out for this team? There’s still the Big East tourney to get the mojo back, and playing in front of a packed house at MSG with history as the backdrop could very well give this team the jolt it needs. But Boeheim’s golf comment is interesting. Maybe he (like many of us) senses this squad just doesn’t have it, and sees the end of the season coming quickly.
As far as Boeheim’s career, undoubtedly we’re in the twilight of it. His post game press conference highlighted that. The first question posed to Boeheim concerned Georgetown’s man-to-man. His answer spanned all of eight seconds. The next question was about the end of the rivalry. Boeheim launched into a four-minute story about the creation of the conference, Dave Gavitt’s role, and the ups and downs in building the league.
The X’s and O’s are for a younger coach with plenty still to prove. Boeheim is bored by the small stuff. It’s the body of work, the legacy, the relationships that he now spends time opining on. He made a political statement about gun control in a presser after the Newtown shootings. The Per’fesser spoke at length yesterday about his friendship with elder John Thompson, his younger days of struggle and animosity toward Georgetown, and marveled at how he never planned to spend thirty years at SU. He said when he started he was hoping to make it four or five.
Boeheim has used this season to lament the end of the conference, and the chase for dollars fueled by football contracts at every turn. It clearly chafes him that the Big East had to fall. He has snickered multiple times the league should’ve taken the first TV deal offered by ESPN a few years ago.
USC has recently reached out to Mike Hopkins, and you always wonder how long he can be patient. We know Boeheim won’t still be coaching in five years. He has hinted a number of times over the last few seasons that he’s coming to his end. Maybe this awful loss is, as Boeheim put it, just a “blip” in the grand scope of the rivalry. But maybe it was a little more than that. Maybe it reminded Boeheim how a round of 18 would be much more enjoyable than having your tail kicked by 20 points on national TV.
Posted: Austin Pollack