Opening a Can of Orange Worms

Last week, T-Mill of Hammer and Rails posted an opinion on some of the more overrated teams in men's basketball. Among them, in T's opinion, was Syracuse. Mainly, he said, because they lost to a D-II school in an exhibition game and that made their otherwise gaudy record hard to take seriously. While we might not have made such a statement, he was more than entitled to express such an opinion. You know, as a blogger. Writing on his own site.

Well, Syracuse knuckle-draggers did not approve. Unsurprisingly, some clown at a Syracuse site posted T's story, effectively sic-ing the dogs on the too-nice T-Mill. It was not pretty, with hundreds of comments being posted attacking both T and Purdue. Neither of which, of course, have anything to do with Syracuse and whether or not they are overrated.

The major defense point that was made (at least, by the Syracuse fans who could breathe with their mouths closed) was that the Orange (Seriously? "The Orange"? You guys are going with that, huh?) weren't really giving full effort against D-II Le Moyne. Ah, yes, the old "We weren't really trying!" defense, a favorite of third-grade children everywhere. "You guys only won at kickball because we weren't trying!" You can spot these people as adults, too -- they're the ones incessantly talking smack during a game of Cranium but are the ones who walk out of the bar if they're losing at darts.

Let's be clear -- we don't think Syracuse is a bad team. Far from it. They're obviously an extremely talented group and Boeheim is a fantastic coach, along with being a snappy dresser. But let's not anoint them great just yet, 'cuse fans. Let's take a look at some facts, shall we? I know they're pesky, but they're fun to look at.

Syracuse is 24-2. Impressive, to be sure. However, they have lost three times at home this season.

Once was the exhibition against Le Moyne (and, let's not pretend for one second that if Purdue lost an exhibition game to a D-II school that it wouldn't be constantly used to bash the Big Ten).

Once was by ten points to Pittsburgh. Not an awful team, but Pitt wasn't ranked at the time.

And once was yesterday to Louisville, another unranked team that is in danger of not making the NCAA tournament.

As for Syracuse's signature wins?

They beat then #4 UNC in November. Yeah, I'm pretty sure we now know UNC wasn't deserving of being #4.

They beat then #11 Florida in December. Yeah, they're probably not an NCAA tourney team, either.

They DID beat West Virginia (who was #9) and Georgetown (who was #11), though how tough is Georgetown if they just lost to Rutgers? (Oh, I forgot, the Big East is pure awesomeness from top to bottom.)

Of course, they've sidestepped Villanova to this point, but they get them at home on 2/27. Should be good.

Also padding Syracuse's record are the following:

--They beat Robert Morris by 40. (Was poor Robert playing alone, 1-on-5?)

--They smoked Columbia (who is currently 9-13).

-- They blasted Colgate (who is currently 8-16).

-- They ganged up on Maine by 46 points.

-- They beat St. Francis (NY), a 10-15 team.

-- They beat down St. Bonaventure, a 10-13 team.

-- They hammered Albany, who is currently 7-21.

-- They also get to pad against Seton Hall, Rutgers, DePaul, UConn and Providence.

What's the point here?

Well, it's that Syracuse is good, there's no doubt. As we've said before, you need to be good to beat even bad teams and not have letdown games, and the 'cuse have mainly done that. But before everyone gets pissed off that someone might have an opinion that this team could possibly be (GASP!) overrated, one should check the facts. They've won some decent games, but they've also beaten a ton of really crappy teams and lost a few times at home when they honestly should not have.

Oh, and they lost to a Division II school.

Poll Dancing: 2/15/10

Congrats, JJ