At the risk of jinxing the remainder of SU’s regular season, plus the Big East Tournament (an event that needs no jinx assistance where the Orange are concerned), I have taken the liberty of projecting – i.e. haphazardly guessing – where the Men in Platinum may play in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
Let’s say for the sake of argument that SU wins out the rest of the regular season, and either wins the BET or loses in the title game. That would leave the Orange with a 33-1 or 32-2 record and probably the second or third overall #1 seed behind the Kentucky Unibrows.
This year, the tourney’s second and third round games (still can’t get used to this whole 68 team thing) are being held in the following cities March 15-18: Albuquerque, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Portland, Columbus, Greensboro, Nashville, and Omaha. If the four top seeds are Kentucky #1, Syracuse #2, Missouri or Kansas #3, and Duke or North Carolina #4, we could see the ‘Cuse play their first two games at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. That’s the home of the NHL’s Penguins, and a relatively brisk 6 hour, 360 mile drive from the Salt City – even faster if you’re up for reenacting the Cannonball Run with some of your fellow fans.
Either way, the trip isn’t too shabby.
Assuming they make it out of Panthertown alive, the Orange would head to either Boston, Phoenix, Atlanta, or St. Louis March 22-25 for the Sweet 16 and Elite 8. With the tournament’s pod system designed to keep top seeds as close to home as possible, we could assume that the Orange would play in the home of my beloved Celtics, the TD Garden. That’s an easy 5 hour/311 mile drive down Interstate 90.
And we all know what happened the last time SU traveled to Boston for the NCAA Tournament.
To keep the good karma going, it must be noted that the Final Four is in the Superdome in New Orleans this year. I prefer to think of it as the New Orleans of 2003 and not the New Orleans of 1987, but either way I hope it increases the likelihood of Jim Boeheim busting out the orange pimp hat again and an Orange man throwing down on some unsuspecting Big 12 schmuck.
So are the travel stars aligned for the Orange this year? Could a Pittsburgh-Boston-New Orleans itinerary be a harbinger of good things to come? I wouldn’t book my hotel room just yet, but you might want to keep that credit card handy…