I'm sure I don't need to remind you that we're in the midst of an "anybody can beat anybody on any given night" year in the Big East. Just in case that doesn't do enough to strike the fear of God into your heart about the upcoming game against DePaul, let me remind you of last season.
The great 2009-2010 Orange team that we will speak so highly of for years to come was thisclose to losing to DePaul. Down 18 at one point, Syracuse took its first lead of the night with four minutes left and barely held on for a 59-57 victory. If ever there was a reason to say a team escaped with a victory, that was it.
There was one good thing to come from the game:
Losing to Seton Hall or Rutgers is one thing. Losing to DePaul, however, is something far worse. The Blue Demons' win over Providence snapped a 24-game losing streak in regular-season Big East play, their first conference victory since defeating Marquette over a year ago, and their first road victory since beating Cincinnati on March 6, 2008.
In other words, we do NOT want to lose this game. Seriously, you guys.
Top it all off with the fact that it's Senior Day, the final game of the regular season and a chance to end the year on a five-game winning streak...let's just say business needs to be finished. Just like the song says.
This game should be all about celebrating Rick Jackson and sending the Orange into the Big East Tournament in fantastic shape. Nothing else.
One thing that's going to make this win feel even safer is the news that Blue Demons' freshman phenom Cleveland Melvin will miss the game and the rest of the season with a thumb injury.
Melvin, a BIG EAST Rookie of the Year candidate, leads the Blue Demons and all BIG EAST freshmen with 14.3 points per game this season. In BIG EAST play, the Baltimore native has been ranked in the league’s top 10 all season with his scoring average of 17.4 points per outing. Melvin has recorded 19 games in double-figures this season and eight games of at least 20 points.
Bummer for him, but Cuse fans aren't going to shed a tear until after this weekend. Consider the paint that much more free and open for Rick Jackson to run amok in.
The SU game will be DePaul's second-straight opponent in a Senior Night game. Rutgers is hosting theirs on Wednesday when the Blue Demons come to town.
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