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SU Basketball: A Strange Season A Brewing

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We're still a few weeks from game one for Syracuse, but there are already some strange vibes floating around the Orange.

Jared Wickerham

Is there anything more Jim Boeheim than Jim Boeheim walking away from a reporter without answering a question? I say no, but wrastlin' microphones and berating reporters is also high on that list. And something tells me we may see all of those forms of Boeheim this coming season.

It's still October and he's already been hit with:

Okay, so that last one was made up -- Boeheim wouldn't be broken up about the demise of a dog.

"You know how I know you're just a dumb dog? Because you were just run over, you dumb dog!"

But still, practice started roughly a week ago and Boeheim isn't having any of it, already. And I don't really blame him. The Davis and Lang case is couple of years old. Three years have gone by since it's genesis! Imagine having something as strange and embarrassing as Bernie Fine's situation attached to your name for over 1,000 days? The thought of this being dragged up again? Bleh.

It's the same thing for the NCAA investigation, too, actually. Fab Melo has already gone from NBA draft pick, to NBA journeyman, to out of the league for good. And yet, Melo is somehow still haunting Boeheim and Syracuse, as pointed out in his biography - which drops next month.

"We suspended him {Fab Melo} for three games, Boeheim wrote."After that, we were under the impression that he could appeal and do some academic work to get himself eligible, and he was declared ineligible again, right before the NCAA tournament. The issue is extremely complicated, and at any rate I can't really go into it because it is part of an ongoing NCAA investigation." via syracuse.com

So, we're talking about a serious lawsuit, regardless of how sick of it you may be. And we're talking about a serious NCAA investigation wrapping up, regardless of how sick of it you may be.

In other words: A lot of Boeheim's personal world, which he often protects by stonewalling any and all outsiders, is about to be exposed. Potentially. Court records or NCAA rulings may provide some rather embarrassing or offsetting news. Of course, he can still fight the lawsuit, or even settle it, both of which would save the Hall of Fame coach from ever having to speak about possible tough-to-listen-to details of the case against Fine. Plus, the NCAA may in fact never charge Syracuse, Boeheim's program and the entire athletic department with any infractions.

Hmm...

Would Boeheim be willing to settle this lawsuit?

Would the NCAA take years to investigate something, call the school in and not levy some punishment? Yes, this is the NCAA we're talking about, but still, I don't think the odds are very good here. We are talking about "serious" or "significant" breaches of conduct.

We have no idea how any of this will go at this point.

If I had to, I would lean toward the lawsuit going away with more whimper than roar. The NCAA thing? My gut says SU gets a slap on the wrist. But those are just guesses. Crazy, though, that we're reading about court cases and infractions hearings.

We're waiting to see what Boeheim's next legal move will be; refreshing Twitter to see if Boeheim and SU have gone in front of the NCAA committee. Waiting to see, even if we don't expect it, if the sky is falling in on the whole thing.

And we haven't even gotten to this year's Orange team. Which may not provide much relief for coach or fans. Gone are Tyler Ennis and Jerami Grant and C.J. Fair and Baye Moussa Keita (hustle points count, damn it!). And what about DaJuan Coleman? Is he going to play this season, next season, ever again? A preseason ranking of 24 in the USA Today Coaches Poll kind of seems a little too gracious, no?

Yet, something tells me that Boeheim, given everything, is a little extra charged for this one. A team somewhat off the radar? A team to forget when talking about Duke or Louisville or North Carolina...A chance to win and stick it to anyone who would rather talk about something else? I bet he's looking forward to this challenge. He's always looking for a challenge -- a big reason why he's facing the issues dealt him.

Wouldn't it be funny, though, if SU somehow withstood any and all outside storms, turned a couple of freshman (Kaleb Joseph, Chris McCullough) and a maligned senior (Rakeem Christmas) into something memorable? All things considered, it wouldn't surprise if something good comes from this season after all.

Now THAT would really be classic Jim Boeheim.