As Sean already wrote, this was a special team and a special season. Last night's loss was heartbreaking because I think we all believed that, despite everything the team had faced all season, it really was special enough to get to the Final Four and beyond.
Seeing the dream end is tough. It leaves us emotional. With that in mind, I wanted to make a little list of things we should NOT be complaining about right now.
What Not to Say After Last Night's Game:
If only we had Fab Melo...
Listen, I hear you. I know I found myself saying that a few times last night as Baye Moussa Keita had the ball knocked out of his hands or took it weak to the rim with two guys hanging off of him. It would have even just been nice to have another body in there to help distribute all the fouls being called!
As fans, we need to move on. This team could have won last night, should have won last night without Fabricio Melo. I find myself wincing whenever I think of 2010 and losing Arinze. But something is different about that season and his injury than this one and Fab's mysterious suspension. I am not going to let that "what-if" memory stain another season. Fab was not on the bench. And this team was ready to play without him last night.
Related, we should not be angry with Fab. Other than rumors, we don't really know what happened. And no one on the team, from Boeheim to the last walk-on, has said one bad word about Fab. If those guys can stay positive on him then so should we.
The refs blew the game!
The refs sucked. There is no doubt about it. They were blowing the whistle and calling fouls on what they anticipated, rather than waiting to see if there really was any contact. They ruined the flow of the game and the whistle was giving me a headache. But the refs are not why we lost the game.
Our guys were missing easy layups like they were Paul Harris in 6 overtimes. We have to make those shots. A team like OSU does not give you many opportunities. You get a fast break, you find yourself near the rim one-on-one, you gotta put it in. Cuse could have been up by 5+ at the half, or even without that, tied at the end of the game if they had just converted on these easy shots.
Too many missed layups is much more of a factor in our loss than refs blowing the whistle too often.
We all want Dion Waiters to stay. We all want one more season so he can a) Be a superstar and lead us back to the Promiseland and b) Be a guaranteed lottery pick next season rather than a likely mid to late first rounder.
But all signs point to him leaving. The more you get your hopes up, the more bitter you will feel when he inevitably chooses guaranteed millions over the fun of being an Orange amateur. I hate seeing nasty comments Tweeted at these kids. It embarrasses me as a fan. So prepare yourself now so when he does decide he is going to leave you can be ready, be supportive and be proud to cheer him on as another great Orangeman in the NBA.
So what should we be saying? That you're proud of Scoop and Kris and this team. That it was a special season. That they gave it all they had. That you're going to miss hearing announcers talking about kids from Philly.
And most important: that you're proud to be Orange.