Sports fans, by nature, are irrational. This isn’t an insult, but rather an observation I have made throughout my (albeit brief) time as both a journalist and a sports fan myself.
When we discuss our favorite teams, we tend to have an optimistic outlook. It is that misguided confidence that led to some Syracuse football fans to predict a 6-6, 7-5 or even an 8-4 record for the 2016 season, despite the team’s difficult schedule and an injury-prone quarterback under center.
It is that same irrational thinking that causes us to – time and time again – provide excuses for whenever our team fails.
We here at TNIAAM, however, beg you not to do that.
Syracuse finds itself, once again, squarely on the bubble after suffering a disappointing 62-57 loss to Miami in the second round of the ACC Tournament on Wednesday. With an 18-14 record, the Orange will now be forced to sweat until Selection Sunday.
If Syracuse is, in fact, left out of the NCAA Tournament when the field of 68 is announced, well, it’s its own damn fault.
Don’t blame the NCAA selection committee.
Don’t blame the media.
Don’t blame the referees who officiated Syracuse’s 14 losses.
Don’t blame the schedule.
Don’t blame the arenas and opposing fans.
Don’t blame any crazy anti-Syracuse conspiracy.
Don’t blame the mid-major who you perceive is unworthy of “stealing” Syracuse’s spot.
There is only one group of people you should blame for Syracuse potentially missing the NCAA Tournament..the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team.
Blame the team as a whole for failing to reach its lofty preseason top-25 potential.
Blame Andrew White for averaging just 1.2 assists per game.
Blame John Gillon for his subpar defense and inconsistent shooting stroke.
Blame Tyler Lydon (2-7 from the field against Miami) for disappearing when the Orange needed him the most.
Blame Tyler Roberson for remaining solely a rebounding specialist, and failing to develop his game since he arrived at SU.
Blame Frank Howard for regressing into an end-of-the-rotation player.
Blame the coaching staff for failing to figure out how to win away from the Carrier Dome (2-11 road record).
Blame LITERALLY EVERYONE for losing to St. John’s by 33 points at home.
Blame Tyler Roberson (yes, again) for dooming any potential Syracuse upset over Louisville by failing to hit just two God damn free throws.
Blame DaJuan Coleman, Syracuse’s highest rated recruit in 10 years, (he was rated 5 stars and the No. 14 prospect in 2012) for not developing into the dependable big man Syracuse needed him to be.
Blame everyone from Tyler Lydon to Ray Featherston for somehow losing to Georgetown at home during a game in which SU Athletics honored Pearl Washington.
Hell, even blame Jim Boeheim for not being able to turn the team around until it was (potentially) too late.
Were there calls that didn’t go Syracuse’s way? Were there certain games scheduled at inopportune times? Are there mid-majors with similar resumes that may get in over Syracuse? Of course, but if we’re going to start placing blame for Syracuse’s woes, let’s start with culprit No. 1, the Syracuse men’s basketball team.