Following the Syracuse Orange's brutal loss to Pittsburgh earlier today, head coach Jim Boeheim had plenty to say to the media. The biggest takeaway, however, was his bit of politicking to the NCAA:
I thought, and I'm not talking about me, I've always thought the NCAA committee was not the infractions committee, I thought it was the NCAA basketball committee. I thought it's their job to pick the best teams for the tournament.
I have read where some people think we should be punished by the basketball committee as well. I think we've had our punishment. I don't think we should now be punished by the basketball committee. We've gotten pretty heavy punishments.
The players on this team didn't do anything wrong, were not involved in anything. They should be evaluated on how well they played when they played their best. That's the only thing that I think should happen. We should be evaluated on what kind of team we are.
I think everybody has their own opinions. The chairman of the committee said a coach not being there can be taken like a player not being there. How much is that important? I don't know. How much is that taken into consideration? I don't know.
I know we've beaten four teams in the top 30 or 35 in the country. We've beaten eight teams in the top 100. If there's teams better than that, so be it. We'll see what happens.
The key takeaway there, for most media outlets: Boeheim believes this Syracuse team has suffered enough.
And maybe they have. With just a couple days' notice, this Orange team was forced to change coaches, largely without the intended succession plan in place. That group went 4-5 under Mike Hopkins and suffered its three worst losses of the season, to St. John's, Georgetown and Clemson, respectively.
But, I guess in the big scheme, have they suffered enough, if you're of the mindset that teams falling outside of the NCAA's rules and regulations truly need to pay? After all, Syracuse self-imposed a ban last year just before completing a season bound for the NIT anyway. And this year, while it could've gone better, was certainly an improved group compared to that team -- Rakeem Christmas's absence aside.
They also saw the scholarship reductions (originally set at a harsh three per year) knocked down by four total. That's still a punishment, and one this team certainly dealt with. But who really gets to decide what's enough?
Not me. Nor any of us, really, since we all have some pretty orange-colored glasses on about these penalties, Syracuse's NCAA chances and Jim Boeheim too. Ultimately, that's up to the NCAA Tournament Committee; the audience Boeheim's post-game remarks played to whether attendees immediately realized it or not. Jim's been here before (hi, 2007) and knows that campaigning afterward does nothing to fix things this year. You have to commend him for trying to do something about it while he still can, regardless of your definition of "enough" may be.