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2021-22 Syracuse Basketball: A Season of Inches

Photo Courtesy of Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports

Photo Courtesy of Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports

It is officially over. With Selection Sunday in the rearview mirror and Syracuse’s name not on the NCAA Tournament or NIT bracket, the 2021-22 season is done. It is probably for the best that it is over. The Orange finished the year 16-17 — the first losing season in the Jim Boeheim era and maybe the beginning of mediocrity in Central New York.

When you look at the final record on paper it looks horrible. Syracuse basketball is an esteemed program that expects to win. So anything less than an NCAA Tournament berth is disappointing. However, if you take a deeper dive, you can see that this past year was a season of inches. The hard pill to swallow is the inches were never on your side.

Let’s start with the elephant in the room — Colgate. A 15 point loss to the Raiders is unacceptable. If the Orange played them again 100 times, they would probably win all 100. A second half collapse did SU in, and from there it snowballed. Cuse took that bad mojo to the Bahamas where it lost to VCU, another team it should have no business losing to. Win against Colgate and you probably beat VCU. 18-15.

Then there is the Georgetown debacle. The Hoyas somehow came back from being down seven in the second half to win by four. The worst part about it — our best friends from DC won one more game after that game and then lost 21 straight. 21! Syracuse was far and away Georgetown’s best win. There is no reason why the Orange should have lost that game. 19-14.

ACC time. This is where the inches hurt the most. Starting with the game at Miami. The Orange were up 14 at half, but lost the game by one. A second half meltdown did SU in. Cuse should not have lost that game. 20-13.

The next game was another example of Syracuse not being able to handle the pressure. Against Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, the Orange lost in overtime because they couldn’t get the ball in at the end of regulation and turned it over. If they could execute down the stretch, that would have been another win. 21-12.

Skip to the end of the regular season with North Carolina and Miami on the docket. Both were losses, both should have been wins. Yet again, Syracuse was up late in the game against UNC, but couldn’t execute in the waning seconds and allowed overtime, which they just didn’t show up in. Against Miami, Cuse was up by 11 at half. What happened? You guessed it, another second half meltdown. Both of those games easily should have been wins. 23-10.

If those games of inches went Syracuse’s way, the Orange would have been looking at a 13-7 conference record and much better placement in the ACC Tournament. Cuse may have avoided the top of the bracket, which means they could have avoided Duke until the championship. So, toss on a couple more wins to the record. 24-10.

There you have it — 24-10. That is what you expect from Syracuse basketball. That is a definite NCAA Tournament team. That is a team that could make a run in March Madness.

Yes, this whole article is a lot of if’s, but they aren’t outlandish. All of those games Syracuse should have won. The Orange had self-inflicted wounds that inch by inch dug their own grave. This year’s team is not as bad as most think. It will go down as the worst in the illustrious career of Jim Boeheim, but in actuality, Syracuse just continually drew the short end of the stick.

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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