Unlike the N.F.L. where there are no polls or voters, college hoops has it a little different. Is Sunday's game with Louisville meaningless? Syracuse has clinched the No. 1 seed in the BE Tournament and, most likely, a No. 1 seed in the NCAAs as well. So why not rest Wes Johnson or maybe Andy Rautins or AO? At this point it would seem that the only thing the Orange is really playing for (besides pride) is where they play their regional games should they advance that far. Would being the overall #1 going into the tournament be enough to uproot Kansas from the Midwest? The general consensus seems to be 'no' and that SU will be a 1 in the South or West. Some reward. The only way, it appears, for Syracuse to get the overall # 1 and move Kansas would be to win out, including the BE tourney and have KU not win the Big 12 tourney. At that point the selection committee would have no choice but to award the overall #1 to Syracuse and that should be enough to get to the Midwest. Why should SU be victimized simply because the Carrier Dome is hosting the East Regional?
All of this raises another question for me. If Jim Boeheim does rest some players- or even just Wes- and they lose, how does that affect the voters? Obviously and unfortunately, I know the answer to that. But is it fair? Can you punish a team for losing a game they didn't necessarily try to win, given everything that's involved here? Yes. Yes, you can.
So I guess my real question would be this: Is it even plausible to think that Jim Boeheim would take his team to Louisville and not do everything in his power to win the game? Even if that means playing Wes for 40 minutes? I'm pretty sure I know the answer to that, too.
Undefeated on the road, closing Freedom Hall with an Orange 'W', and the possibility of playing out of St. Louis should provide ample motivation for them to go all out. And maybe, just maybe we'll get to hear Boeheim inform the world that Freedom Hall is "officially closed".