Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim has been around campus for 35 years and has led his team to 27 NCAA tournament appearances and a national championship.
Many of those years were before the age of the Internet, which is now responsible for false, and weak (but pervasive) rumors alleging possible point-shaving by Syracuse players, including Scoop Jardine.
Rumors like this have surfaced in the past with teams such as Toledo and Arizona State, but such allegations usually come out at the end of the season or years later.
This is happening in the middle of the season, and it's because of an irresponsible hack.
The Syracuse coach and classy legend has seen a lot, but Boeheim probably didn't see this silliness coming.
Syracuse started the season 18-0 but has lost its last four games, including a 22-point home loss to Seton Hall.
Syracuse as a team didn’t play very well in that loss, but that’s what usually happens when you lose by 22 points.
It’s been rumored (without proof) that a relative of Jardine's bet on Syracuse’s first game at Seton Hall when the Orange were a 7.5-point favorite.
So what! I would have bet on Seton Hall too!
Perhaps whoever bet on Seton Hall that day was simply using common sense. Syracuse had the luxury of playing 15 of its first 18 games at home, and the other three were played at a neutral court.
The game at Seton Hall was the Orange’s first true road game of the season, which is always a tough task no matter how good a team is perceived to be. They didn’t cover the 7.5-point spread. But after having zero true road environments to deal with in their first 18 games, frankly, it’s impressive they even won that game outright.
Syracuse followed up with an impressive 17-point win at St. John's, a team that returned all five starters from last season and recently handed Duke a double-digit loss.
Syracuse’s next game got off to an erratic start when the Orange let Pittsburgh jump out to a 19-0 lead, but they responded with a 17-0 run of their own to close the gap at halftime. They lost the game and failed to cover the spread, but so did Connecticut when the Huskies traveled to Pitt earlier in the season.
Will Syracuse bounce back at UConn?
Losing at Pittsburgh is not front page news. After all, Pitt was picked to finish first in the Big East.
Since then, the Orange have dropped three straight games and an 18-0 start has now transpired into an 18-4 record. However, that is nothing to "write" home about.
Compared to what happened to Texas and Clemson in recent years, Syracuse’s current status pales in comparison.
Clemson opened the 2006-07 season with 17 straight wins and missed the NCAA tournament, as the Tigers took a first-round exit in the ACC tournament, which was the finale for a 4-10 finish to their regular season.
Just last season, Texas also jumped out to a 17-0 record before finishing the regular season with a 7-9 record. The Longhorns made the NCAA tournament but lost to Wake Forest in the first round.
Texas also finished the season with a 3-18 ATS record in its last 21 games, much worse than Syracuse’s current ATS record of 7-13.
Scoop Jardine and a teammate, Dion Waiters, have responded and denied the baseless rumors on their Twitter accounts, but one must wonder how much these allegations could actually motivate the players, as well as the team, to come out on fire against UConn.
With UConn coming off an emotionally draining overtime loss vs. Louisville, this could be a good time for Syracuse to pull out of its little slump.
It will be a difficult task, as UConn is tough at home. But fueled by motivation and embarrassment, look for Boeheim’s crew to get it done.
There‘s no evidence to suggest these point-shaving rumors are true, but there’s certainly one way to calm the fire, and that’s a win by Syracuse at UConn on Wednesday night.
Take Syracuse to cover 2.5 points at Connecticut