There was a time during the Syracuse Orange - St. Francis, NY Terriers game, right about the mid-point of the second half, when the TNIAAM GameThread turned into the series finale of Doomsday Preppers.
The Orange prevailed, somehow, and they wrapped up the New York's College Team November Tournament™ before headed to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational.
Understandably, everyone is looking around wondering where the hell that came from (though truth be told, does no one want to talk about how St. Francis beat Miami? No one???).
It's mid-November, which means we haven't seen enough basketball to truly know how good anyone is going to be but we have seen enough basketball to know what each team needs to work on. And that means it's November Narrative Time!!!
NNT works on a local and national level. For instance, this is the epitome of National #HotSportsTakes on ACC Basketball right now. A bunch of ACC teams have lost to or struggled with mid-majors, ergo, ACC BASKETBALL SUX! You take the small sample size, you make sure it fits your argument, and presto! You've got definitive proof.
On a smaller level, Syracuse fans can easily look at the 2013-2014 Orange so far and create the narrative "these guys suck." How do you do it? You think back to the last time you watched Syracuse play, the 2013 Final Four, and then compare that team, in that timeframe, to this one. Is this year's team in the Final Four yet? No? THEY SUCK SO, SO HARD!!! WHERE HAVE YOU GONE, BRANDON TRICHE???
Of course, you'll have to throw out the fact that last year's Syracuse squad barely beat Detroit in the Dome (72-68), lost to Temple in December, was held to 57 points by Alcorn State and lost ten games overall. Because if you didn't throw all of those things out, you'd be left with the actual truth, which is that it is simply way too soon to worry about what is going to happen to this squad come March.
Last year's team looked a hell of a lot different in December than they did in March. Just as so many Syracuse squads have done before them (for better or worse). Yes, we struggled at home against St. Francis. Guess what? It happens every year. You just choose to block it from memory.
2012: Syracuse 72 - Detroit 68
2011: Syracuse 62 - Marshall 56
2010: Syracuse 63 - William & Mary 60, Syracuse 73 - Iona 67
2008: Cleveland St. 72 - Syracuse 69
So, to St. Francis, we say good job and good effort. You guys looked like to deserved to win the game for a while there. But you didn't. And if nothing else, give this Syracuse team credit for ensuring that. There is such a long season ahead of this team. So much time for everyone to work out their kinks. So much time for the freshmen to grow up. So much time for everyone to learn how to play like a cohesive unit.
So much time before the eventually academic suspension. So much time before conference play lets us know where we truly stand.
Thankfully, this team is now headed to a place where they can focus. A play where they won't be distracted. A place where basketball will be the only thing on their mind. Maui.