PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 17: Scoop Jardine #11 of the Syracuse Orange and assistant coach Mike Hopkins celebrate after Syracuse won 75-59 against the Kansas State Wildcats during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Consol Energy Center on March 17, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
It finally dawned on me this weekend what was going on. I mean, I've known all season that people are rooting against Jim Boeheim and the Syracuse Orange. But my goodness, was it ever crystal clear that a lot of college basketball fans would love nothing more than to see us go away quickly and in humiliating fashion.
- They find our head coach overbearing and annoying.
- They think we've been made out to be better than we really are.
- They think we get by on the historical reputation of our name and our conference's name.
- They're tired of hearing about whatever the scandal du jour involving us is today.
- They're just waiting for one of these things to finally stick so we can get busted and ruined for the criminals and liars that we truly are.
The 2011-2012 Syracuse Basketball team is an SEC Football team.
Seriously, look at the 2008 Florida Gators, 2010 Auburn Tigers and 2011 Alabama Crimson Tide. Doesn't every thought detailed above fit them perfectly as well? It's the perfect combination of success on the field/court, coupled with an over-sized personality and the possibility that not everything going on is above-board, pushed over the top by the fact that it's all still not enough to stop the inevitable from happening.
And so, the Jim Boeheim Hate has been ratcheted up to eleven. And the need to see Syracuse fail and for Boeheim to "pull a Boeheim" is practically driving some people to openly root against us despite no specific interest in us otherwise. It's why most columnists will spend Monday not writing about Syracuse but about Indiana or NC State or Wisconsin, where they "play the game the right way" or something like that.
I'm not trying to get into an argument about whether or not Syracuse basketball is statistically on the same level in basketball as those SEC schools are in football, that's not the point. The point is the same trigger points and red flags that usually make people like us root against teams like Cam Newton's Tigers or Nick Saban's Crimson Tide are the same ones currently making people across the country root vigorously against Jimmy's Orange.
Scoop Jardine and the players have been saying it all season. "We all we got." And it's never been more true. There's gonna be a lot of Wisconsin fans out there on Thursday. And most of them have probably never even watched a Wisconsin basketball game all season. So it goes for Syracuse.