Syracuse Orange Fans' Final Four Dreams End

Donna ReynoldsContributor IMarch 29, 2009

LOUISVILLE, KY - JANUARY 27:  Jim Boeheim the Head Coach of the Syracuse Orange gives instructions to his team during the Big East Conference game against the Louisville Cardinals  on January 27, 2007 at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

For a few days in March 2009, Syracuse University basketball fans experienced a bit of deja vu as the Orange marched their way to the NCAA Sweet 16 round. Thousands of orange tee shirts paying homage to the team's six overtime win against Connecticut were spotted all over town.

For a minute, it felt eerily similar to another season six years ago when the Orange took it all.

The 2008-09 season ended abruptly Friday night in an 84-71 loss as the Orange faced the buzz saw that was Oklahoma's Blake Griffin.

It's not as though SU wasn't prepared for this, but the reality of Griffin's prowess along with Tony Crocker's hot streak proved to be too much for an SU team that came out flat and never regained its footing.

The bubble burst in a resounding thud.

For longtime Orange fans, the outcome of Friday's game seemed apparent almost from the jump, and it only got worse. Eric Devendorf and Andy Rautins combined 7-for-24 three-point shooting and Rick Jackson and Arinze Onuaku combined for just 15 points and nine rebounds. 

And then there was Jonny Flynn, who soldiered on in the second half to score a total of 22 points on the game, despite having seriously bruised his lower back after a collision with Blake Griffin.

We all know the stats.

At any rate, Jim Boeheim's 800th win will have to wait until next season, and in the meantime, Orange fans nervously await news on Flynn's decision as to whether or not to go pro. There's even chatter that Paul Harris and Devendorf are also considering leaving school.

Still, despite its disappointing conclusion, the 2008-09 season gave fans some remarkable memories and a reason for some hope for the future. If no one leaves early, next season should be the one! That prospect should get us through the next seven-and-a-half months!