Within minutes of Syracuse's win over Cal that propelled them into the Sweet Sixteen, I saw a whole bunch of people board the gravy train...
Gotta admit, that line of thinking always rubs me the wrong way. I know we get into this discussion every season around this time but I'll continue to say that the whole "everything else from here on out gravy" mantra is protective bulls**t.
You might as well say, "I know Syracuse is going to lose to Indiana so I'll just say we're already winners."
I also think the whole gravy boat ride comes from a perception that the team's expectations before the season are constant and remained the same throughout the year, which you and I both know is 100% nonsense.
Last year, before the season started, most of us expected SU to do well. But nobody really knew how good that team was, and by the time they reached No. 1, expectations were off the charts compared to where they were. Our original expectations were probably Sweet Sixteen but our new expectations became Final Four. To then revert back to the original expectations when you know all that information you didn't before, well, that's silly.
Look, I'll boil it down. If you're good enough to make it this far, you're good enough to make it to the Elite 8. And if you're good enough to make it to the Elite 8, you're good enough to make it to the Final Four. And if you're good enough to make it to the Final Four, well, you get it. You take it a game at a time but if you can survive and advance, you can keep surviving and advancing.
If Syracuse loses on Thursday, there will come a time in the near future where we will be able to step back from the season and say, "they did good." But in the moments and days following the game, it sure won't feel like that. We'll still be mulling over the ways that SU could have won and should have won. And it certainly seems absurd to cut the Orange off at the knees today and say, "We know this is the best you can do."
So as far as I'm concerned, keep your gravy. I still believe this team can win and I expect them to win, opponent be damned. I'm not going to give myself a safety net in case they lose because I can guarantee you the players on the court wouldn't want me to.