Big East Tournament 2012: Why Syracuse Orange Are a Lock to Win

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Big East Tournament 2012: Why Syracuse Orange Are a Lock to Win
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The Syracuse Orange are going to win the 2012 Big East Tournament.

The Big East Conference has looked weaker this year than any year in recent memory and Syracuse is in a good position to take it.

An argument could be made that Syracuse is the best team in all of college basketball, with a 30-1 record. But with Kentucky and North Carolina also having tremendous years, that argument is a tough one. 

What isn't arguable is that Syracuse is a lock to win this year's Big East Tournament.

In the past few years, the Orange have underachieved in the postseason and have not lived up to expectations set by college basketball's fan base. Last season, the Orange were stunned in overtime by a Connecticut team surging with Kemba Walker during the tournament's quarterfinals. 

The Orange also lost in the quarterfinals in 2010. Their 2009 championship loss and a couple years of mediocrity means that Jim Boeheim's boys have not won the Big East Tournament since 2006. 

But this will be the year Syracuse doesn't underachieve. 

Of course, anything is possible in college basketball, and there is always upsets. But, who could upset an experienced, determined team like this in the tournament?

Syracuse's lone loss this season came to Notre Dame after the Orange started slow and were without big man Fab Melo. The Irish won the rebound battle 38-25 as a result. 

 

 

Had Melo played in that January 21st game, Syracuse might be looking at an undefeated season and entering the conference tournament with a bigger smile. 

Regardless, Syracuse is too deep and too experienced to let the 2012 tournament fall out of their hands and let Notre Dame celebrate once more.

As the tournament's No. 1 seed Syracuse, certainly has the schedule advantage. The Orange will play their first game during the quarterfinals and could see No. 16 DePaul, No. 9 Connecticut or No. 8 West Virginia.

The Huskies and Mountaineers have both underachieved this season, and without Kemba Walker, I don't believe Connecticut can surge through the tournament again unless Jim Calhoun returns as a miracle worker.

The big thing here is that Syracuse would not face Notre Dame or Marquette until the tournament's title game. No two teams pose more of a threat to the Orange. The Irish's victory over Syracuse could be a used as a recipe for future success, and Marquette is getting better and better under Buzz Williams. 

However, with Fab Melo playing, Syracuse won't have the disadvantage on the boards against Notre Dame again, and Marquette is known for underachieving in the Big East Tournament.

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All things point Syracuse's way. 

Wouldn't it be fitting that the Orange win this year's Big East title?

The 2011-12 season has been absolute roller coaster for Jim Boeheim and company. With the recent news of failed drug tests going undisciplined at the university, it is time for yet another rise out of Syracuse. 

 

At the beginning of the season, the Bernie Fine scandal rocked college basketball. Jim Boeheim's name was tarnished by the news of his assistant's doings, and Syracuse responded with a 30-1 season and some of the best performances in the Orange's recent history. 

 

The Orange's successes have somewhat quieted the focus on Bernie Fine, but news broke Monday that the university has self-reported drug policy violations. The reports claim 10 former players failed drug tests and went without punishment since 2001.

If the claims are true, Syracuse has yet another mess on their hands.

Jim Boeheim would again suffer a shot at his legacy, and a successful regular season would go forgotten and scarred by collective irresponsibility. It would be a horrible chink in the armor for Syracuse.

But it'd be even worse for the rest of the Big East. 

While these rumors and news of Syracuse's disciplinary failures swirl around the sports world, the Orange will answer with their play on the court. That's how they do things, and they've shown it. 

Syracuse is a roller coaster, and there isn't a downward drop coming anytime soon. This is the Orange's tournament to lose.

But they won't.

 

Steven Conklin is a contributing writer for the Bleacher Report and a student at the University of Central Missouri. He joined B/R in October 2011 and is currently an intern. Comments, questions and suggestions are welcome.

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