A possibility exists that Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim doesn’t know basketball, by his definition.
Back in November, Donna Ditota of the Syracuse Post-Standard reported a conversation Boeheim had with a group of reporters. He was speculating his team’s outlook for the upcoming season after saying goodbye to Michael Carter-Williams, Brandon Triche and James Southerland when he remarked,
I think the height of foolishness is to think that we're going to win 29 games and lose 2 or something like that. When you lose those two guys? And you're playing a freshman guard and a sophomore guard that didn't play last year. I don't know what people see. Maybe I don't know basketball, I guess.
With all apologies to coach Boeheim, it looks as if his tea leaves may have betrayed him.
With only eight games left in the regular season, No. 1 Syracuse (23-0, 10-0 ACC) is off to its best start in school history and just may hit that 29-win mark.
It’s easy to understand Boeheim’s reasoning; it just didn’t work out that way. The ACC is not as strong as it has been in years past, which has allowed his players to learn on the job. They’ve handled adversity well and shown an eerie calm thanks primarily to their freshman phenom, Tyler Ennis.
Canadian-born Ennis has been a godsend. His coolness in crunch time is more reminiscent of his fellow countryman Martin Brodeur, than it is of his contemporaries. With his steady hand and a cast of characters who believe in his ability to lead their team, the Orange have a chance to be a very special team when March comes around.
But they’re not there yet.
The ACC may not be as deep a conference as the Orange are accustomed to but there are still a few tough road games ahead, including Pittsburgh on Wednesday, and Duke, on Feb. 22.
There is also the injury to Baye Moussa Keita, who sprained his knee against Clemson and did not practice on Monday. With DaJuan Coleman out for the season with a knee injury, the Syracuse options at the center position are dwindling.
As the top-ranked team in the country, there are only a few holes in the Syracuse game. With just eight games left until tournament time, look for the Orange to address those holes and fine-tune their front-runner status.
Here are some areas the Orange will have to address before the big dance.