Is it just me, or is watching Syracuse basketball lately like watching a tug-of-war match between two dogs, where no progress is made for seemingly long periods of time until finally one of the dogs decides that its not worth it, looks for a bone to chew on.
Don't get me wrong, watching Syracuse play this past week has been very exciting, especially for a fan of Big East Basketball.
How will playing three overtime games this week effect Syracuse over the long run, especially through the NCAA tournament?
Here is a rundown of this past week for the Orange.
Entering their game last Saturday against Marquette, Syracuse had blown out St. Johns, Cincinnati, and Rutgers, and faced a Golden Eagles team that had lost three in a row against the Big East Elite.
They played excellent in a tit for tat game down the stretch against a scrappy Golden Eagles team, and at the end of regulation, the score was tied 73-73.
The Orange pulled ahead late in overtime, and pulled off the upset 86-79. It was their first overtime game since a February 14th meeting against their rival Georgetown, which they won 98-94. They had ended the season on a high note.
Two games later, in the second round of the NCAA tourney, Syracuse faced the No. 4 team in the country UConn, a team which they had lost to 63-49 on the road in early February. This would end up being an epic battle, that would take six overtimes to complete.
Twenty-Four extra minutes later, and Syracuse pulled off the upset, completing the game after 12 p.m. in the Eastern Time Zone.
By the time the Orange would get back to their hotels, it would have to be at least 3 in the morning. Jonny Flynn, who played 60+ minutes in the game, said he felt like his legs were going to fall off. The Orange needed some time to rest, for the next game they play would end up being in less than 17 hours.
Game time rolls around at 9:30 p.m. EST, and Syracuse came out strong, jumping to a 36-29 half time lead.
Wouldn't it be crazy if somehow West Virginia caught up though, and Syracuse would have to play their third overtime game in a week?
Somehow, the stars aligned though, and the game ended in regulation with a 63-63 score. I do not know where Syracuse got its energy from, but they ended up winning the game 74-69, and advancing to the finals where they will play league champion Louisville on Saturday.
So, what have we learned about his Syracuse team this last week.
For one, they are excellent late in the games, and this can be attributed to the coaching and Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim.
They are 5-0 this year in overtime, and their wins are against the likes of Kansas, Georgetown, Marquette, UConn, and West Virginia, all excellent wins considering Georgetown-Syracuse is a rivalry game.
But, in the last week, Syracuse has played 32 extra minutes of games, which translates to more than 3/4 of a game. That means they will end up playing 4 3/4 games in seven days!
How tired should this team be? How tired will they be next week, and if they lose to Louisville tomorrow in the Big East finals, will it have been worth it? I
don't know how far this team will get in the NCAA tourney, but I do know that if the Orange can keep games close, they have an excellent shot at getting far in the NCAA tourney.
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