"In the meantime, I look forward to hearing how wrong I am from every Syracuse fan on the planet."
But y'know, what? He actually wasn't too far off at all. First, his list:
|Year||Record (Conf. Record)||NCAA Tournament Finish||Notable Players|
|2012||34-3 (17-1)||Elite Eight||Kris Joseph, Dion Waiters, Brandon Triche, Scoop Jardine, C.J. Fair, Fab Melo, James Southerland|
|1987||31-7 (12-4)||Runner-up||Sherman Douglas, Rony Seikaly, Greg Monroe, Derrick Coleman, Howard Triche, Stephen Thompson|
|2003||30-5 (13-3)||Champions||Carmelo Anthony, Hakim Warrick, Gerry McNamara, Kueth Duany|
|1989||30-8 (10-6)||Elite Eight||Douglas, Thompson, Coleman, Billy Owens|
|1990||26-7 (12-4)||Sweet 16||Thompson, Coleman, Owens|
|2013||30-10 (11-7)||Final Four||Fair, Michael Carter-Williams, Brandon Triche, Southerland|
|2010||30-5 (15-3)||Sweet 16||Wes Johnson, Andy Rautins, Arinze Onuaku, Rick Jackson, Joseph, Jardine|
|1996||29-9 (12-6)||Runner-up||John Wallace|
|1980||26-4 (5-1)||Sweet 16||Roosevelt Bouie, Louis Orr, Marty Headd,|
|2000||26-6 (13-3)||Sweet 16||Etan Thomas, Jason Hart, Preston Shumpert, Damone Brown, Ryan Blackwell|
|1994||23-7 (13-5)||Sweet 16||Lawrence Moten, Adrian Autry, Wallace, Luke Jackson|
Nothing egregiously out of order here, and quite honestly, we as a fan base don't really pay a ton of attention to where our teams rank, all-time. We have one NCAA title, so that's our favorite team. Everyone else had varying levels of success, some better than others, and one team more excruciating than most (yes, 1987). But the overriding opinion is likely that the 2003 team stands on its own until another Syracuse team wins it all (please shout me down if this is an over-generalization).
I did pose the question to some of the other folks here at TNIAAM, though, just to get a gauge of where Titus. The responses were sort-of varied, but you may notice an overriding theme:
Dan Lyons: 2010 is definitely way underrated.
Jared Smith: I am defiantly going to agree with the majority here and say 2010 team needs to be higher on the list. However, if we're going to do the: "if Team X played Team Y who would win?" I am picking the 2003 team to beat the 2012 squad. We forgot how deep and good that championship squad was. Sure, they might not have as many NBAers, but they have one GREAT NBAer and a SU legend. Also, who is stopping Billy Edelin or Josh Pace in the paint?; and Hakim Warrick and Kueth Duany can match-up athletically with a lot of the guys now. Inside, the '03 team didn't have monster talent but they had guys that did a lot of the little things that are huge in the 2-3 zone.
I also think the 2010 team beats the 2012 team too, as does the 1987, 1989 and 1990 squads. So, I am guessing I am pumping that squad down a notch because it relied A LOT on individual talent and not so much team basketball. My top pick would still be the 2003 squad then mix in the 1987-1990 teams which were loaded too.
Jeremy Ryan: I think he underrated the late Douglas-Coleman-Thompson teams. I may be biased because those are the teams I grew up on, but those were powerhouse squads in an absolutely loaded era for college hoops.
As for myself, the only real "miss" here is on 2010. Titus names the 2012 team the best we've had, which is fine. But that seemingly ignores just how much the 2010 squad just danced on graves all year. They went 30-5 (15-3 in the Big East), while outscoring opponents by an average of nearly 16 points per game. They made more field goals than all but two other teams in the country. They had the highest field goal percentage in the country at 51.6 percent and shot nearly 40 percent from three (thanks, Andy Rautins!).
And on defense, my God -- teams barely hit 30 percent of threes against them. They couldn't rebound. Opponents turned the ball over nearly 16 times per game. The list could go on and on. If it wasn't for an untimely injury to Arinze Onuaku in the Big East Tournament, this was the best team in basketball that year. Hands down. Of course, I'm biased, as it was my senior year at SU, but any one who remembers that team knows how glorious a run it was. No, I wouldn't claim they're the "best" we've ever had, but at the end of the day, how will we ever really know? If AO plays, there's a fair chance we beat Butler, and make it to the Final Four we so rightfully deserved. Though it's impossible to say in a tournament where what's "supposed to" happen rarely actually does.
But what do you guys think? Does Titus get it right? Or does the 2010 team (or one or more other squads) really need to be elevated higher? No need to criticize him -- practices like this are incredibly subjective -- but we are curious to see what the larger TNIAAM community thinks. Share your own musings below!