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That Did Not Feel Good

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Man...the stink of this game is not going to go away for a while.

With less than three minutes left in the 1st half, everything looked rosy for the Orange (doesn't that sentence sound familiar). Then the bottom dropped out, the Orange starting turning the ball over like it was on fire and they went into the locker room up one instead of the eight they had been. The second half started out decently enough but Villanova lowered the boom from the three-point line and all of a sudden this close match-up became a cakewalk, the Cats
cruising to a 82-63 win.

Nova went on a 25-6 run in the second half boosted by eight three-pointers. Scottie Reynolds scored 22 points to lead the Cats. Donte Greene scored 17 points, Jonny Flynn scored 16, and Paul Harris added 13 but otherwise no other Orange scored more than 8. Most notably, Arinze Onuaku put only 4 points and 3 rebounds in the scorebooks as the Orange were out-rebounded 39-27 overall.

Like I've been saying all week, we should have known. As soon as the Orange won both the Seton Hall and Marquette games and got our hopes back up, we should have known. How is it that a group of kids who have nothing to do with any Syracuse team that came before them put us on the exact same roller coaster as the previous ones? As commentator Laaz said, "Just when I started to believe, they kick me in the nuts." In a nutshell (pun intended), that sums it up.

Maybe it's all for the best. Considering that even if we beat Georgetown we still would have been sweating out the bid announcements, maybe suffering through this loss saves us from suffering through a second-straight disappointing Selection Sunday. Still...would have been nice to have had a puncher's chance.

Dozens of woulda-coulda-shoulda's are dancing in my head. The Pitt game. The South Florida game. The Cincy loss. The UMass loss. Win any one of those games and maybe we're still talking about a shot on Sunday. Maybe not. Such is the way you spend your off-season when you get this close.

I feel horrible for the graduating senior class who will have seen the Orange play exactly two NCAA tournament games and win exactly none of them. This after they watched the Orange win the national title just two years before they got here. They'll always have the GMAC Big East Tourney run but otherwise, what else will they have to look back on? Breaking the NIT attendance record not once but twice? My condolences, folks.