LOUISVILLE, KY - FEBRUARY 13: Jim Boeheim the head coach of the Syracuse Orange gives instructions during the Big East Conference game against the Louisville Cardinals at KFC YUM! Center on February 13, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Over on The Bud & Brent Show at Syracuse.com, the question is posed...
Is the "Final Four or bust" mentality of some fans unrealistic in today's college basketball landscape? If the Orange win the Big East Tournament and finish 36-2, but lose before the Final Four, would you consider the season a success or not?
Brent says Syracuse is on the "Better Be" List, as in they better be in the Final Four.
Bud reminds us that they're saying the same thing at Duke, Missouri, Kentucky, etc. and doesn't think it's fair to say Syracuse HAS TO go to the Final Four.
Things comes to a head right here:
Bud: They could go 36-2, not go to the Final Four and you're gonna call that a bust of a season?
Brent: I would call it a bust of a season.
Bud: Shame on you. Shame on you. [looks at camera] And shame on any of you folks out there that listen to this guy.
As for me? Well, shame on me I guess because I agree with Brent. At the end of the day, we measure success by championships, not regular season victories.
There's a reason we remember the Buffalo Bills of the early 90's as "losers" despite the fact that they went to four Super Bowls and probably won more games than anyone else over that time.
There's a reason we remember the 1990-1991 Syracuse basketball team for their loss to Richmond in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and not for 26-6 record and Big East regular season championship.
There's a reason people are now willing to say Eli Manning (2 Super Bowl wins) is better than Peyton Manning (1 Super Bowl win).
The lesson is, as always, that the regular season means little in comparison to the post-season, specifically, the championship. Maybe it's not fair or ideal, but it is what it is. And if this Syracuse team, which was ranked No. 1 for an extended period of the season and has been among the top five almost the entire time does not at least go to the Final Four, you'd be hard-pressed to find a Syracuse fan not massively-disappointed.
And I say that knowing that just making it to the Final Four is hard. Really hard. Some of the best teams that ever played the sport couldn't do it and the combination of talent, perseverance, experience and plain old luck that goes into getting you there is nothing you can ever predict.
But that doesn't mean we don't look at this team and expect it. Because we do.