The weather on both Saturday and Sunday was gorgeous here. The kind of weekend you're supposed to feel terrible about staying indoors during. And yet, I just spent a decent amount of time inside watching two semi-pro basketball tournament games on my laptop and it was one of the most enjoyable Syracuse-related game-watching experiences I've had in a long time.
Boeheim's Army, the TBT team consisting mostly of former Syracuse Orange players from the past 20 years, finished the weekend two-for-two in Philadelphia and now moves on to the Super 17 Regional portion of the tournament in Chicago. Their first game was a relative cakewalk while the second game was a nail-biting overtime thriller that existed as a kind-of Greatest Hits of 21st Century Syracuse Basketball.
Eric Devendorf being a hothead and pissing people off (right after we find out he's into calming meditation)! Baye Keita inexplicably shooting! Terrence Roberts doing Terrence Roberts things! Mookie Jones on the bench! The SU team squandering a lead and almost blowing a game to a lower-ranked squad! Overtime! Fan heart attacks!
I already knew that the idea of a team made up of former Syracuse players would be fun, but if you're telling me this is what it's going to be like every year in The Basketball Tournament, I might need ESPN to carry all of these games because it's officially appointment television.
You know that feeling in your chest when you're watching a Syracuse basketball game? That feeling of impending dread, like you know something horrible is going to eventually happen and we just need to find a way to stave off misery for a little longer so we can survive and move on? That's what this was like. And I realized...I missed that feeling. As if I'm addicted to it.
That's what happened when you're a Syracuse fan.
One of the great joys of the weekend has been not only watching the games but watching along with Orange fans on Twitter and in the GameThreads. Clearly, a lot of you are just as deranged. It's also a credit to this fanbase that we even care, let alone get worked up over the possibility that Demetris Nichols & Co. might lose.
How many fanbases would care this much? How many fanbases DO care this much? I don't see any other college with a TBT representative team that's making as much out of this as we are.
I love that! It should be a recruiting pitch point. "Commit to play for Syracuse and, twenty years from now when you play in a pick-up basketball tournament, SU fans will still show up & tune in to cheer you on."
This second game was also a reminder of that feeling that people don't like us and they want to not only beat us but see us suffer. BA just took on a team full of LaSalle guys in Philly. They really wanted to beat our guys, their fans really wanted them to win and one of their guys got so worked up that he needed to be held back at mid-court before getting ejected.
After the season SU Basketball just had, it's nice to get that back. It's nice to be the villain again.
I cannot wait to find out the fallout from today. (I CAN'T BELIEVE THERE IS THE POTENTIAL FOR "FALLOUT"). Will Devo get suspended? Can they even do that? What happened if and when Donte Greene and Rick Jackson show up? Will Willie Deane become an honorary Syracuse player by the end of all this? Will Lawrence Moten get back out there with the high socks?
To say nothing of whether or not the team will win the whole thing and split $1 million. I want that for all of these guys.
But mostly, I just want to keep watching them play. This summer. Next summer. Every summer.
I demand it.