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Monday’s loss shouldn’t change your perspective on Syracuse’s season

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Did you expect anything else?

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at North Carolina
North Carolina Tar Heels forward Theo Pinson (1) and Syracuse Orange guard Andrew White III (3) fight for the ball in the first half at Dean E. Smith Center. 
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse (11-8, 3-3) entered Monday’s matchup against No. 9 North Carolina (17-3, 5-1) and it ended about how most expected it to — a 17-point loss and a dominating performance the glass by the nation’s top rebounding team.

“We know we’re gonna get beat on the boards going in here,” Boeheim said, “but it was a little bit too much for us to overcome.”

The Tar Heels won the battle of the boards, 44-24. Eighteen of those were on the offensive end, which led to 20 points. Truthfully it could’ve, and should’ve, been a lot more than that.

Some fans (maybe?) expected to win tonight, and took to Twitter after the 82-65 loss.

To the fans who, maybe not expected to win, but wanted to see more on Monday — I have one thing to ask you: What did you expect? I mean, seriously?

North Carolina came into Monday’s game off of a 13-point victory over No. 10 Florida State. The win was considered important, but UNC could’ve easily lost and been fine for the remainder of the year.

Syracuse, on the other hand, came off of a win that SU fans were thrilled with against... Boston College.

Boston College.

I mean, come on. Most fans went into Saturday’s game against the Eagles unsure if the Orange could win, and then were upset after a loss to North Carolina of all programs? At North Carolina, nonetheless.

At some point you have to be realistic. John wrote a really good piece about Syracuse’s ceiling. SU just isn’t that good this season. Maybe it’s poor chemistry, maybe there’s not enough talent or maybe it was too much to ask two graduate transfers and two freshmen to come in and play big minutes from day one.

I don’t know, Jim Boeheim doesn’t know and quite frankly, you don’t know either.

It’s just college basketball at its finest. Just when we thought we had it all figured out following SU’s Final Four run last year, it makes us look foolish.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Midwest Regional-Virginia vs Syracuse
Syracuse Orange guard Malachi Richardson (23) reacts to scoring during the second half against the Virginia Cavaliers in the championship game of the midwest regional of the NCAA Tournament at the United Center.
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Monday’s loss shouldn’t affect how you view the rest of the season — neither good nor bad.

Maybe in our wildest dreams we thought Syracuse could pull off the upset in Chapel Hill. Maybe. But even if the Orange played its best game of the season, North Carolina could’ve responded with a ‘B’ or ‘B-’ outing and came out victorious. That’s just where Syracuse is right now.

Mediocrity.

Monday wasn’t SU’s last chance to make a splash, either. The Orange returns to the court on Saturday to face Notre Dame in South Bend. The Irish are undefeated in league play.

Again, expecting a win on Saturday is almost foolish — but not impossible.

But even if Syracuse loses again on Saturday, can that really change your view of this team? SU doesn’t have a win away from the Carrier Dome. The inconsistency is the new norm and the schedule only gets tougher.

You can enjoy the evolution of Tyus Battle and Taurean Thompson, while also understanding Tyler Lydon may only have a dozen-or-so games left in a Syracuse uniform.

I’d love to tell you that it’s going to get better next season, but there’s not much evidence to tell us it will. As for this year — enjoy it. Enjoy Lydon’s love for the game and what he’s brought Syracuse. Enjoy Andrew White’s only season in an Orange uniform and realize you only (potentially) have Jim Boeheim for one more year.

It’s easy to complain now, but nothing should surprise you at this point with this particular team. It is what it is, and it also doesn’t change what this team and program’s been over the past 40-plus years.