The 2013 NCAA Tournament is over and with it, so go our running jokes and memes that made the Syracuse Orange's march to the Final Four so memorable. Most of them were insufferable but some of them were fun. Let's take one last look back at them before Cal gets back in this one...
1. Is Jim Boeheim Retiring?
Even before Gregg Doyel asked Boeheim if he was considering retiring during the post-game presser following Syracuse's loss to Michigan, this was already a joke amongst Syracuse fans. Thanks to some nudnik at OCC and some nudnik running the SU Twitter account, Boeheim retirement speculation went to plaid in March and April. Boeheim first refuted the rumor in mid-March (and again in late March) (and again before the Final Four) and hasnt changed his story since but that hasn't stopped everyone from continuing to ask him about it.
My personal theory? The "narrative" dictates that this is the perfect time for Boeheim to retire. He's reached 900 wins. He got back to the Final Four one more time. He's restored the program to glory. Time to go out on a high note. That he's not doesn't make sense (just look at the way Dan Wetzel tries to paint Boeheim into the tired, weary old soul who's done). So every time he says he's coming back, they don't want to believe it because the narrative says he should retire. Oh well. I'm sure someone will ask him again next week so we can keep this going...
2. Can Cal Get Back In This?
This one I'm legitimately going to miss. During the Syracuse-Cal game in the third round, announcer Dan Bonner might as well have been wearing gold & blue while calling the game. Bonner was in full-on Jim Ross Mode all night, doing everything he could to make it seem like Cal was one shot away from winning the game and upsetting Syracuse, despite the fact that Syracuse basically never trailed and had a comfortable lead for most of the game.
Bonner was so over-the-top every time Cal scored that Syracuse fans have basically been living in mock fear for two weeks now that, at any moment, Cal could get back in this one. Even as we were beating Indiana and Marquette, Syracuse fans knew in the back of their mind that, if Crabbe gets hot, Cal's back in this game.
Can we please wait on the retirement question until after we see if Cal can get back in this thing?— Brian Gravelle (@OrangeFeed) April 8, 2013
(Jared's quick note: For those that missed it, I re-watched the Syracuse-Cal game before Saturday's loss to Michigan and there was 14 references to Cal still having a chance to win the game, including four actually saying, "Cal is still in it." Most of those comments were made while the Golden Bears were trailing by double-digits.)
3. What Channel Is The Game On?
I don't know what to do. I don't how many times I can write a post with the game information. I don't know how many times I can tweet it. I don't know why so many people don't know how to do a Google search. But somehow, no matter what, I will always get 57 tweets before every NCAA Tournament game asking me what channel the Syracuse game is on (or what channel truTV is in Mobile, AL).
Next year, I'm gonna answer each one but I'm gonna ask for $1 before doing so.
4. The 2-3 Zone Is Unstoppable Always And Forever
There was a four-day stretch between Syracuse's win over Marquette and the lead-up to the Final Four when every national college basketball writer was falling over themselves to talk about how amazing and unstoppable the 2-3 zone defense was. Yes, the defense was brilliant against Montana, Cal, Indiana and Marquette, but the way people were propping it up, you'd think Syracuse was undefeated and was in the midst of trying to win their 97th-consecutive National Title.
When you have a successful run in the tournament, one of the side effects is that national folks who don't follow the team closely suddenly put what's happened during the last three weeks under a microscope and make macro statements about "what it all means." And that's bound to annoy us, or at least bring on a collection of eye-rolls. You and I knew the 2-3 zone was always only as good as the five people running it game to game.
At least we got to make a t-shirt that annoyed Bomani Jones out of it.
5. If Syracuse Makes Shots, They're Going To Win
The whole "Charles Barkley has no idea what he's talking about" thing is pretty universal when it comes to the NCAA Tournament. In what has become an annual tradition, Barkley and Kenny Smith take some time to talk about college basketball during the tourney and spend the entire time proving they have no idea what's going on and don't really care enough to find out. Instead, we get Barkley giving us hard-hitting analysis like this...
And so we knew, if Syracuse makes shots, they would keep on winning.
On Sunday, Barkley and Greg Anthony appeared on stage in Centennial Park in-between concerts. In a bit of "comic relief," Anthony pulled out the giant underwear from their Capital One commercial (Capital One was the sponsor of the concert). They fake-bickered about it and then threw the underwear into the crowd as a prize(?). Barkley and Anthony then thanked Capital One for the opportunity and left the stage.
I felt like that summed up Charles Barkley's NCAA Tournament coverage value perfectly.