I'd say this is getting silly if not for the fact that its been silly already for the last month.
Since the season began, every Knowledgeable Basketball Expert has been letting you know about how Syracuse doesn't play a basketball game outside of New York or New Jersey until January 17th. Mike Waters gave a great rundown to the faux-importance that folks like Dick Vitale are putting on this stat. Nevermind that this run includes away games against Big East opponents Seton Hall and St. John's and games in Atlantic City, which is about 345 miles away, roughly the same distance as Pittsburgh, PA.
It's our game against Pittsburgh on the 17th that acts as some kind of Rubicon for when we're officially allowed to be proud of our schedule (and record). Once we play that, if we're still undefeated, everyone is allowed to accept us then.
Fine, we'll assume that Atlantic City is right down the road from Turning Stone Casino. And I suppose we can understand the Seton Hall/St John's thing considering how many Orange fans did and will pack those road stadiums (even if our all-time record in Madison Square Garden isn't exactly good).
Thank God, however, that we're not playing UConn on the road between now and the 17th. Not because it would be a tougher game, but because Andy Katz has taken things to the next level. The Tri-State Area rub.
St. John’s shouldn’t be any different. And while the Red Storm have created a mini-buzz with their start so far, Syracuse can always expect to have at least half the house at the Garden with the drivable proximity to campus and the alumni base in the city, although the snowstorm that blitzed the East Coast might hinder some fans from traveling from central New York.
So the true read on the Orange may not come until they venture out of the tri-state area for the first time this season -- at Pitt on Jan. 17.
Storrs, CT might as well be a Syracuse suburb. I remember going there to buy beer all the time when I was a junior.
So now this begs the question...who's going to up the ante next? You know it's coming. The Orange play Pitt on the 17th in Pittsburgh and then host Villanova and Seton Hall before traveling to Marquette on the 29th.
So who's going to be the one to have the balls to say "Syracuse won't played outside New York, New Jersey or Pennsylvania until January 29th?" Because I GUARANTEE YOU its coming. Especially if we're still undefeated by then, which is a huge "if" I will admit.
Vitale, Goodman, Parrish, Katz...you're all on the clock.
Who do I blame the most in all of this? The Big East Schedule-maker. All that schnook had to do was throw in one road game against DePaul or South Florida in early January. The whole matter would be done by now.
(And yes, for the record, I know it doesn't matter what these guys think of our schedule. What happens on the court is the only thing that matters. But you know what, it's a matter of pride (IT'S STILL REAL TO ME, DAMMIT!). You don't hear anyone chiding Duke for playing in Maryland (practically a home game) or Ohio State playing at Michigan (might as well be in Columbus). If you want to smirk at our OOC schedule, fine. But this whole "we don't leave the area" schtick discredits our Big East opponents. And aren't these the same people talking about how tough it is to play in in the Big East? Especially on the road? Anyway, yes, I know it doesn't matter. And yet it does...)