Syracuse Orange fans don't do well when it comes to rankings. We routinely feel slighted and under-appreciated. Sometimes it's warranted. Sometimes it's not.
I'd let you decide how you feel about Jim Boeheim coming in at No. 12 in ESPN's rankings of the Top 50 College Basketball Coaches.
Right off the bat, they're pretty aware that some folks (read: Syracuse Fans) are going to look at that ranking and feel like something's amiss when it comes to a coach that has a national championship and four Final Fours, one of which he's just a season removed from.
This is not a legacy measure.
For all of the different ways our 45 ESPN Forecast college hoops panelists might have weighed their scores of the nation's top 50 -- and there are all sorts of ways individual emphases can come into play -- this was the defining criterion. These rankings were never meant to be about the aggregate work of a coach's lifetime. They are meant to cover current performance. It's a broadly limited term.
Eamonn Brennan does go to bat for Boeheim, saying that the Hall of Famer turned what could have been some down seasons into quality years and remaining consistent in terms of suffocating 2-3 zone defense and overall victories. Knocks include the breakdown of the offense (and team in general) last season.
But ultimately, the question is whether or not Boeheim should be higher. Our bias says yes but we are, of course, biased. Boeheim beat out ISU's Fred Hoiberg (15th), Virginia's Tony Bennett (14th) and VCU's Shaka Smart (12th). So who's going to be ahead of him? Brent Axe spells out who it'll be and which of them might not deserve the better nod...
Of the 11 coaches that will be ranked ahead of Boeheim, four haven't won a national title: Michigan's John Beilein, Wisconsin's Bo Ryan, Arizona's Sean Miller and Wichita State's Gregg Marshall. Ryan has been to just one Final Four. Miller has been to none.
The other coaches that will be ranked ahead of Boeheim are Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, Louisville's Rick Pitino, Kentucky's John Calipari, Michigan State's Tom Izzo, Kansas' Bill Self, Florida's Billy Donovan and Connecticut's Kevin Ollie.
It's the quintessential issue when it comes to defending Boeheim's legacy. Win another championship and all of this is moot. It's not fair but it's how this works. Suddenly, a lot of his minuses become pluses. A lot of things that get overlooked with other coaches (early-round exits, inability to win big one, etc.) don't get overlooked when it comes to Boeheim because of his tenure and the "One Title" within it.
Anyway, it's June. Too hard to get worked up if you ask me. Boeheim's reputation is what it is. As Syracuse fans, we just want to see the big man get at least one more deep run to solidify his HOF career. Maybe that'll change some minds, maybe it won't. All I know is, either way, James Arthur Boeheim will never have to pay for drinks at Margaritaville.
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