Let the narratives begin!
The idea of this Syracuse Orange team playing in the Sweet Sixteen, with 19 regular-season wins and a resume that barely got them into the tournament, does not sit well with a lot of people. Like I said last night, it doesn't make sense but that's the beauty of the NCAA Tournament and playoffs in general.
But of course, a lot of people are paid a lot of money to try to make sense of it all and their read is that the Orange probably don't actually deserve to be here and basically just got lucky.
Dick Vitale says Syracuse caught a break by not having to play Michigan State.
Pat Forde says Syracuse was "gifted" a game against MTSU.
Sporting News points out Syracuse has the "easiest" road ever taken to the Elite Eight.
So, here's the thing...
1. It's not Syracuse's fault Michigan State choked.
2. It's amazing how quickly Dayton has been downgraded from decent 7-seed to "nobody."
3. For a day and half following MTSU's win over Michigan State, people were falling all over themselves to praise the Blue Raiders as being legit and full of NBA caliber players.
4. As soon as Syracuse beat them, they were back to being just some pushover 15-seed again.
5. It's not Syracuse's fault Seton Hall choked.
6. It's not Syracuse's fault Utah choked.
7. All Syracuse, and any team, can ever do is win the game in front of them. "Undeserving" Syracuse has only done what they've been told to do. Sorry for succeeding where so many "better" teams failed.
I'm not one for conspiracies and there's no conspiracy here, but I think we can all agree that very few people want to see this Syracuse team succeed. They don't like that the Orange "shouldn't" have been in the tournament. They don't like that it's happening a year removed from the NCAA sanctions and feel as though SU is skirting punishment somehow. They just don't like Jim Boeheim. They simply don't like Syracuse.
I get it. I know we're not very likable. Our style doesn't excite people. We don't have superstars. Our coach seems like a perpetual grump.
If, for some weird reason, you didn't want to see Syracuse beat Gonzaga and keep moving forward, let this be your motivation. We're not wanted here. We're not supposed to be here. Everyone wants to see us lose so the "correct" teams make it.
Here's how Syracuse fans feel about all that.