This team gets a lot of flack and a bit of a lack of respect by some of the pollsters and talking heads around the country. Mostly, they all have the same lame line of reasoning: They don't win big enough. While some of the medis darlings have lost a game here or there, but when they win, they win big. In dominant fashion. They really separate themselves from the competition if not run the opposition off the court. More times than not, this team doesn't do that. They "allow" lesser teams to hang around and that leads many to speculate. Is Cuse as good as it's record suggest? Are they lucking into wins? When will the luck run out? When will it come back to bite them? It's not likely that we run the table so, whenever that loss does finally come, they will all have the chance to post their collumns and say I told you so. It would not surprise me to find out that some are already written, waiting to be updated with the particulars. Those guys don't get it and probably won't.
But for all of those more keen to think results matter, it may be easier to appreciate this team. And even they may miss this teams most important virtue, the biggest reason they are undefeated as of this writing. The lazy will cite home games as the reason. The analitical may say the zone, length & opponents in the new conference unfamiliarity and things of the sort. All of these things have an effect, but if you weren't paying attention during the Duke game (and even if you were) you probably missed the main reason for the perfect start. That's because the sneaky Syracuse Orangemen (Damn Right!) hid the reason in plain sight.
In a nip & tuck game of runs where neither team could separate from the other, the Blue Devils were bombing away from 3 point land. It seemed like Cuse couldn't keep track of Duke's platoon of marksmen. With time winding down, the pressure mounting, the game actually matching the hype and Duke showing no signs of slowing down, it would've been forgiveable for a player to feel the need to match them shot for shot and not risk falling a point behind. But Jim Boehiem had a well thought out game plan. He wanted them to concentrate on banging the ball down low and lay off the 3s. They took 4 of them all game long. And even though they made 3 of the 4, the success didn't entice them to shoot more. He obviously articulated his edict very well. But in the heat of the moment and under the pressure of the game, I don't think even Boehiem would've been surprised if someone went astray. None one did. And there in lays the most important ingredient to Cuse' success: discipline.
Discipline is the thing that separates contenders from pretenders. It's why a team sticks to the game plan under the most pressure they faced in the biggest game of the season to date. Discipline is why a team can play so many close games and yet the outcome can (almost) seem like a forgone conclusion, regardless of opponent or circumstance. Stick to the game plan. Execute the game plan. Win. Discipline can do that for you and this Syracuse team has plenty of it.