The 2003 Syracuse Orange team gets a lot of praise due to winning the National Championship. However, a few other Syracuse teams have made it pretty far as well and deserve some kudos. Those kudos will be handed out as both the 1975 and 1996 Final Four squads will be honored in the upcoming weeks during SU basketball games.
The 1975 team will be recognized at the January 30 game against Georgia Tech, while the 1996 team will be honored on February 20 vs. Pittsburgh. No word yet on what those honoring entail though we imagine a halftime player introduction and celebration.
The 1975 team has the distinction of being the only Syracuse Final Four squad that Jim Boeheim wasn't a head coach for (though he was an assistant). Ray Danforth led Rudy Hackett and the Orangemen to the Final Four thanks to a solid season, a shocking upset of North Carolina in the tournament and a win over Kansas State in the East Regional. They would go on to lose to Kentucky in the Final Four and then Louisville in the consolation game back when that was a thing, but this squad remains important because it was the building block from which Boeheim was able to truly create the program as we see it today.
I probably don't need to tell you much about the 1996 team. John Wallace and his cast of upstarts weren't expected to do much when they entered the NCAAs. They rolled into the Sweet Sixteen where Jason Cipolla tied Georgia with a last-second three and Wallace won it in OT. SU then upset Kansas to make it to the Final Four and defeated Mississippi State to go to the title game. They ran into a solid Kentucky squad in the finals but it was a magical run that redeemed Jim Boeheim's status at SU following a "dark" period.