Mar 15, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; North Carolina-Asheville Bulldogs forward Quinard Jackson (32) is trapped between Syracuse Orange players Rakeem Christmas (25) , C.J. Fair (5) and Kris Joseph (32) in the second round of the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE
What. In. Boeheim's. Name. Was. That?
Not only did the Orange almost become the first one-seed to ever lose to a 16-seed but their victory was tainted by multiple horrendous calls in their favor late (though to be fair, the refs were AWFUL all day long). In other words, Syracuse won but no one, not Syracuse fans and not general basketball fans, feel good about it.
It will go down as the worst win in the history of Syracuse basketball.
So how does a team with a Big East First-Teamer, a Big East Second-Teamer, a McDonald's All-American and the Big East Sixth Man of the Year almost lose to one of the other schools in the UNC school system? You'll have to ask them cause it defies logic.
The Orange looked lethargic and uninspired in the first half, which reflected in their miserable shooting. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs were on fire from three and SU seemed uninterested in stopping them.
We all knew the second half adjustment was coming, and it did, but it didn't shut the door on the Bulldogs at the same time. They continued to have an answer for us throughout the game and if not for James Southerland's threes and Kris Joseph's eventual-clutch play, they could have easily won the game.
As for Southerland, who finished with 15 to lead the Orange, I said on Twitter that I didn't like the fact that he was our leading scorer. While it sounds like a shot at James, it's less that and more a shot at the rest of the lineup. With players like Joseph, Dion Waiters, Scoop Jardine and C.J. Fair out there, it does not speak well of us as a unit when the 8th guy off the bench is our leading scorer. That's all. And that said, I'm pro Southerland all the way.
Waiters and Joseph finished with 12 while Scoop Jardine had 11 points and 7 assists (and quite a few Scoopid moments as well).
Rakeem Christmas did what he could, showing flashes of good play at times (and bad play at others). He scored six and grabbed seven boards in lieu of Fab Melo.
The Orange now move on to play the Kansas St. Wildcats in the third round and SU fans have absolutely no idea what to make of that game or this team. Which Syracuse team shows up? I have absolutely no idea. Hell, which players show up? It's impossible to know since they seem to appear and disappear on a nightly basis.
I know, this is the part where you say "win and advance" and if you can walk away from this game honestly feeling that way, more power to you. But this is was just a painful experience on every level. Knowing how talented this team is and watching them nearly self-destruct on a national stage when everyone (and I mean everyone) was rooting for it to happen.
We've talked a lot of about legacy this season and what this team's will be. I'm sure that will be on their minds as they try to forget this game and survive the next one.