As a longtime Syracuse basketball fan I cannot complain much about my team. I used to be able to complain that my team never won a national championship but that got erased when Carmelo Anthony lead the Orangemen to the 2003 title.
Syracuse has had a winning record for every year I’ve rooted for them and in fact holds the current active longest winning streak in NCAA history with 39 consecutive winning seasons. I wouldn’t say rooting for Syracuse is like rooting for the New York Yankees but almost every year the team is good to great and fun to watch.
This season will extend the current longest winning season streak to 40 years. But the one thing Syracuse has yet to give us fans is an undefeated season. What are the chances of that happening this year?
The Orangemen head into tonight’s acid-test game against Pittsburgh with a perfect 18-0 record. Can they go undefeated the rest of the season?
Why Syracuse Can Go Undefeated
The Orangemen play great defense with their 2-3 zone. While offenses can take nights off defense rarely does. So Syracuse should be in every game this season and their offense is good enough to win every game.
Syracuse has played some patsies so far this year like the usual neighboring suspects Cornell (4-10) and Colgate (1-14) but the Orangemen have also already defeated two teams each from the Big Ten (11-6 Michigan and 11-5 Michigan State) as well as two ACC teams (7-8 Georgia Tech and 11-5 NC State).
They also handily defeated conference opponents 15th ranked Notre Dame (70-58) and 16-2 Cincinnati and also crushed (93-65) an 11-4 Drexel squad that defeated the Louisville Cardinals (14-3) in Louisville this season.
Overall the opponents Syracuse has already defeated this season have a combined record of 165-131 (.557).
Why Syracuse Will Not Go Undefeated
The good news is that their defeated opponents have a combined record of 165-131. The bad news is that their remaining opponents have a combined record of 149-63 (.703). So the Orangemen are heading into the teeth of their schedule as all their remaining 13 games are against Big East opponents.
The Big East is a brutal conference and this season the Orangemen still have to play home and away games against both #7 Villanova and #19 Georgetown. And Syracuse has away games against the #5 Pittburgh Panthers, #9 Connecticut Huskies and # 17 Louisville Cardinals.
Will Syracuse Go Undefeated in 2011?
As a fan I would love to see it but realistically the Orangemen have just a small chance to go undefeated this season. Even if they somehow made it through the regular season with a perfect record they still would have to battle through the rugged Big East Conference Tournament in Madison Square Garden and then make it all the way through the NCAA Tournament.
This is pretty good Syracuse team but as a realistic fan I don’t think it’s a good enough team to go the rest of the season undefeated. But because they play great defense behind the 2-3 zone they should be in every game so there is a slight chance they could win them all. As a fan I would be delighted and thrilled if the Orangemen could deliver us an undefeated season and another NCAA Championship.
Update: Syracuse lost to the Pitt Panthers 74-66 Monday night with leading scorer Rick Jackson sidelined with headaches from a concussion he sustained in Saturday’s win over Cincinnati.