As I sat back and watched Syracuse put together yet another boring offensive performance against Boston College, a famous sports press conference came to mind:
I get it, Dennis Green is talking about the opponent, but just imagine Jim Boeheim at the podium fielding questions from reporters. It probably wouldn’t take long for him to drop a line like that when referring to his team’s disappointing play.
So ask yourself, is the Orange who we thought it was? Initially, you’ll probably answer no. But when you look back and reflect on preseason expectations, the answer is yes.
Before the season started, the Orange was projected to finish 10th in the ACC. Well would you look at that! Syracuse currently has the 11th best record in the conference. For some reason, SU fans raised the bar as the season went along. I agree that expectations change as performance does, but what did we see to start the year that told us this season was going to be a special one?
Two months ago, I felt those change in expectations. I tried to warn fans to not get too ahead of themselves, but I’m afraid I was too late. How could we not have seen this type of conference record coming? I mean after all, Geno Thorpe left the program, Howard Washington is out for the year due to injury and arguably the Orange’s best center can barely play significant minutes due to knee issues. That’s a lot of factors that led you to believe this might not be the year for the Orange.
Back in November, the team’s expectations weren’t all that high. Maybe it was Maurek Dolezaj that got people excited? Well that didn’t pan out so well. One player who has been a nice surprise is Oshae Brissett. Regardless of what he’s done lately, the freshman has been an outstanding add to the roster this season. There’s no doubt that he was under-recruited out of high school.
All I’m saying is that this year’s team was somehow pinned with unrealistic expectations. When you think where the bar was set back in the fall, the Orange has actually faired pretty well. Just take Frank Howard for example. He went from in Boeheim’s doghouse to one of SU’s best players in a year’s time.
Defensively, Syracuse is lightyears ahead of where it was a year ago. That has to mean something. All in all, there’s a lot to be proud of if you’re a Syracuse fan. Expectations were set a bit too high at the mid-way point, and that is why you might have a sour taste in your mouth. When you look at the talent and depth of this team, it’s easy to see why seven wins in conference play isn’t the end of the world.
In terms of tournament hopes, we’ll see. Things don’t look good right now, but that could change with a win over Clemson and an A-C-C tournament run. Weirder things have happened. But at the end of the day, they are who we thought they were.