When Syracuse was selected to the NCAA Tournament, even someone who can trace his fandom to his teen years and the Pearl Washington era was feeling pretty doubtful about whether they even deserved it.
Yeah, that would be me.
Even as a Syracuse fan, I can’t justify them being in the Tourney.
— Mike McBride (@MikemacSports) March 13, 2016
Now after a ridiculous run to close out Virginia, the Orange are headed to the Final Four and I must bow down to the coaching genius of Jim Boeheim. Seriously, I have no idea how this team is in the Final Four. There’s nothing beyond the famous Syracuse zone defense that stands out about them. You could look at the first three opponents and make the case that they hadn’t seen the zone and weren’t prepared for it, but Virginia plays in the same conference. They’ve seen it, and dealt with it somewhat successfully for three quarters of the game, until they totally didn’t handle the Orange full court press. Go figure.
Maybe getting selected and having to listen to everyone talk about how they didn’t deserve it was the thing that finally got this team to reach deep down and play with everything they have. Maybe they just play better angry. Maybe Jim was hanging on to that full court press all year just waiting for the Tournament to truly turn it up. Maybe freshman Malachi Richardson simply had the college game click into place over the last couple of weeks. Honestly, I don’t know.
But as a fan, I’m sure as heck enjoying it!