Despite some initial promise, the 2015-2016 Syracuse Orange basketball season hasn't quite gone as well as it seemed it might. Some of that might have to do with Jim Boeheim's absence. Much of it probably has to do with the lack of big-man depth and over-reliance on three-pointers. Whatever the case, it's starting to feel a whole lot like last season when SU finished 18-13 and would have missed the NCAA Tournament had they been eligible.
In fact, it's really starting to feel as though we're in the midst of a pretty rough stretch for the program. What might be shocking is that if you crunch the numbers, we've actually just completed the worst 50-game stretch in the history of the Jim Boeheim Era.
Mike Waters was posed with this question by Reader Chris and he did some deep digging in his mailbag to determine if it was true. Turns out it was.
Chris' math was correct. Syracuse is 28-22 in the last 50 games. That timeframe begins with the end of Syracuse's 25-0 start in the 2013-14 season. Syracuse finished that year with six losses in its last nine games. Then Syracuse went 18-13 last year. And then there is this year's 7-3 start for a 28-22 mark.
If my research is correct, Syracuse's previous worst record in a 50-game span happened back in the early 1980s.
Syracuse won 13 of its last 21 games in the 1980-81 season. The following year's team went 16-13. That's a 29-21 cumulative record. That had been the "record'' until this season.
Mike also points out that there have been two 30-20 runs, both of which took place in the 2005-2008 range, which happened to be the last time Syracuse was mired in NIT Limbo. SU made the NCAA Tournament during that stretch but only thanks to Gerry McNamara's heroics.
There's something to appreciate about the fact that the worst 50-game stretch in 40 years is still good enough to be a .590 winning percentage. But still, it makes you wonder why things have been so rough for so long given all the talent on the court.
Things could get better for the Orange. They've got their last relatively-easy stretch coming up right now. After that however, the ACC gauntlet starts and off we go.