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Syracuse Should Stick Atop Polls - Insider Article


This is from John Gasaway on ESPN Insider. While it still mentions Bernie Fine, it is the best piece about this team to date - http://insider.espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/7356241/college-hoops-syracuse-orange-seem-destined-extended-stay-atop-polls

It's early in the season, but I feel confident in saying that Syracuse has had the most remarkable year, both good and bad, of any basketball program in the country.

Yes, Syracuse has played a really easy schedule -- so what?

Teams play easy schedules all the time. Ohio State actually has played a softer slate than the Orange, even allowing for the fact that the Buckeyes just played a road game at Kansas (and lost, although they were without Jared Sullinger). Also, keep in mind that the Syracuse schedule is not entirely within Boeheim's control. Most of it is, but consider that his team's game in the Big East/SEC Challenge against Florida just happened to be a home date this season. As a result, 10-0 Syracuse has played eight games at the Carrier Dome and two in Madison Square Garden. Boeheim's team will at long last play its first game outside the Empire State on Saturday, when the Orange travel to Raleigh, N.C., to take on the North Carolina State Wolfpack.



That said, the question isn't simply how tough your schedule has been but also how well you have played against that schedule. Boeheim's team has played exceptionally well against its relatively easy schedule, scoring 1.16 points per possession and allowing just 0.83. True, some of that excellence was achieved against Fordham, Colgate and Eastern Michigan, but Syracuse certainly doesn't have to apologize for facing the likes of Florida, Virginia Tech, Stanford and Marshall, all of whom rank among the best 50 or so teams in Division I. By the time the NCAA tournament selection committee seeds the Orange in March, it won't really matter too much that this team had a forgiving early-season schedule. Two games against Louisville, a road game against Connecticut, a home game against perpetually underrated Marquette and, of course, the (last full-strength) Big East tournament will give us ample opportunities to see Syracuse challenged...

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