ESPN college basketball analyst Doug Gottlieb gets under the skin of Syracuse Orange basketball fans like no other analyst does, and his latest comments have them up in arms again.
I'm not saying Gottlieb is always right about Syracuse. It's just important to realize he'll snub the Orange no matter what, given their history.
Back in 2004, the former Notre Dame and Oklahoma State guard accused Jim Boeheim's program of having a flaky schedule, and Boeheim retorted with a reference to Gottlieb getting caught stealing his roommate's credit cards while at Notre Dame.
Since then, Gottlieb has been noticeably anti-Syracuse during his broadcasts and analysis.
His latest criticism of Syracuse came Thursday when he hesitated to put the Orange in the elite category of college hoops teams. He said that they're not quite at the level of Kentucky and North Carolina, and that there are several other teams at Syracuse's level.
He pointed to Syracuse's over-reliance on ball screens, lack of an efficient post scorer and mediocre rebounding.
An unbiased observer would probably admit that there's some truth to what Gottlieb said about Syracuse's flaws. However, it's the way he said it that irks Orange fans—he went out of his way to refuse to give the 31-1 squad any credit.
At this point, Gottlieb's rivalry with Boeheim and the Orange has been well-documented and he knows he's a villain in upstate New York. I think he's embraced that character.
He doesn't seem to like Boeheim and he doesn't like Syracuse's style of play. So he uses his platform on national media to give his opinion about the program.
Gottlieb is like the older brother who knows what to do in order to tick off his younger sibling. I think he'll forever be an "Orange-hater" because he relishes being the devil's advocate and drawing the ire of 'Cuse nation.
Is he often pushing it with his criticism of Syracuse? Certainly.
Don't let it ruin your day, though. Just take his criticism with a grain of salt and remember that there are plenty of analysts that think Boeheim's boys are top-notch.