So it seems that, with the changing of the calendar, the SU basketball story line that will beaten into the ground has also changed. It is no longer "Will the Coach Fine situation be a distraction?" (answer, clearly not). Now it's "SU has a really good bench." It's something we've toyed around with on here for a while now ("Who would win a game between the SU starters and SU bench?"), and now the national media is catching up.
We asked the question a few weeks back, "Who Would Win, Syracuse's Starting Five or Syracuse's Second Five?" We decided the starting five would win...barely.
But, just like how a scoop isn't a scoop until Joe Schad scoops it, a question isn't a question until the national media latches onto it and sucks the life out of it. And so it shall be asked, so it shall be done.
The craziest aspect is that there's actually a legitimate argument to discern whether the starting unit, one that consists of Jardine and Brandon Triche in the backcourt, Kris Joseph on the wing and Fab Melo and Rakeem Christmas up front, has an edge over the second group -- one featuring Waiters, James Southerland and Michael Carter-Williams on the perimeter with C.J. Fair and Baye Keita up front.
Jim Boeheim said he rarely puts these two units up against one another in practice anymore, but they went at it every day the first couple weeks of practice back in October.
"It was a war," Jardine admitted.
"Their bench is ridiculous,’’ Providence coach Ed Cooley said after the Friars lost 87-73 to the top-ranked Orange in a game it led by five points seven minutes into the first half and was within two possessions in the second.
"They’ve got pros coming off the bench. They’ve got a great team. They’ve got starters off the bench, like [Dion] Waiters. He may be one of the best players in the country. They’ve got guys who didn’t play who would start for us. I like their team. I love them. I just don’t coach them.’’
After seeing the Bernie Fine storyline as an addendum to every Syracuse victory before this, I'll take this new party line any day of the week.