For the first time in months, the Syracuse Orange basketball team looked like a real, legit title contender Thursday in a second-round NCAA Tournament victory, 77-53, in Buffalo.
Sure, the impressive performance came against the Western Michigan Broncos, the MAC's power-house squad which are not considered world beaters by any means, but let's be honest, that was impressive. Everything seemed to be clicking for the Orange in their new home-away-from-home, the First Niagara Center (it must be noted, on Friday morning, Dayton Flyers head coach Archie Miller said it was really loud when Trevor Cooney nailed a 3-ball, at one point in the Orange's victory, and his team will be playing a road game on Saturday), and there's going to be a much different feeling about this SU squad if they pull-off another win.
I'll admit it, I was shaking my head a bit at Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim when he said he felt just as confident in this year's squad as last year's heading into the tournament. And, yes, there's still a very good chance Thursday's win will mean nothing came about 10 p.m. on Saturday, as Dayton could continue its Cinderella run after the Orange revert back to their poor-shooting ways.
But, that's why they play the games. That's why only 18 percent of NCAA bracket-filler-outers were still perfect after JUST ONE game was completed on Thursday. It is why when you filled our your bracket this year, you did not feel at all confident about winning your pool. It is why there are the Harvards, the North Dakota States, and nearly the Albanys or Manhattans, every March.
It is why the 2012-13 Syracuse basketball team could make a run to the Final Four. Same thing goes for the 1995-96 squad.
This is why (as easy as this is to say) you, the passionate Syracuse fan, shouldn't get too high or too low after a victory or defeat in February or early March--unless that loss costs you a trip to the NCAA Tournament. But that scenario is not going to happen while Boeheim is still at the helm.
Sure, throwing a few f-bombs or objects in frustration after a 20-percent shooting performance is perfectly fine--and it should happen because god knows what would happen if you weren't able to blow off some steam every once in awhile.
But, remember, Syracuse's 25-0 didn't happen because of 100 percent luck; you're still a bit afraid of the Flyers, even though, they lost five or six during A-10 play and fell in the league tournament quarterfinals; and despite all Orange's recent poor play you' still have hope of another Final Four run.
Why is this? Because they still need to play the game, and if the Syracuse is starting to get its shit together, this could be a very dangerous thing for everyone rooting against the Orange.