Syracuse men’s basketball fans are experiencing a case of déjà vu.
It’s the end of February, and the Orange triumphed over a nationally-ranked Georgetown team. The student section rushed the court at the Carrier Dome in dramatic fashion. And fans have rejuvenated hopes of their team making the NCAA Tournament.
Flashback to 2007.
It was Selection Sunday, and Syracuse fans were stunned. Instead of going dancing, their team landed on the outside of the bubble and received a ticket to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT).
The Orange, their fans, and the media all believed a win over Georgetown would solidify receiving a NCAA bid. However, they were all wrong.
Now it’s 2008 and the Orange are 17-11 overall, and 7-8 in the Big East. Syracuse lost its previous two games, and has three more Big East competitors left to face.
If history repeats itself, Syracuse fans will be disappointed once again.
Last season, Syracuse was 10-6 in the Big East. Syracuse has already surpassed the losses from last year by two, with three games still remaining in the 2008 season.
When Syracuse received an NIT bid in 2007, fans expected Syracuse to dominate the NIT and become champions, proving the NCAA wrong. Instead, Syracuse lost in the third round to Clemson by four.
The second disappointment in less than a month had Syracuse fans itching for the incoming freshmen class to take the court and perhaps make a run at winning the Big East tournament once again.
Jonny Flynn and Donte Greene answered most of the preseason hype that surrounded them. The duo is the second highest scoring freshmen pair in college basketball and has led the team in scoring most of the season.
Despite Greene’s heroics early on in the season, his monthly scoring average is decreasing quickly. In November, his scoring average was 20.5. This February, it’s been at 12.3. His shooting took a vacation at the wrong time for the Orange.
One positive that came out of Syracuse’s upset over Georgetown: this year the Hoyas were ranked No. 8 in the country, where in 2007 they were ranked No. 10. Two ranking spots may not have a lot of pull come Selection Sunday, but it is a positive on the Orange’s side.
Even though the Orange find themselves in a very similar situation to last year at this time, a few things are different.
Point guard Eric Devendorf has not played since before Christmas due to a knee injury, and will not be seen in uniform again until next season.
Josh Wright is also missing from the court. Wright left school a few weeks before finals and never returned.
Paul Harris finds himself the only sophomore on the team, leading the freshman “fab five” to a hopeful tournament appearance.
If the Orange win the last three games of the season, their NCAA appearance hopes will increase. But if their two-game loosing streak continues, it looks like history will repeat itself.