Being a Syracuse Orange fan is a lot of work, as you all know by now. And covering SU’s teams is as well — though it’s largely a labor of love here as TNIAAM wraps up another year of operations (this marks the end of full year 13, for those keeping track at home).
To little surprise, 2019 was yet another eventful one for the Orange faithful, and that fueled quite a bit of content, plus even more conversation. At TNIAAM, we wrote nearly 1,800 articles this year, and many of those generated quite a few comments from all of you.
Starting up our year-end recap articles, we wanted to take a look back at the pieces that garnered the biggest reactions from this community. The list excludes GameThreads, however, because that’s cheating.
TNIAAM’s Most-Commented Posts of 2019
Every goddamn time. Last year’s Syracuse team wasn’t bound for the Final Four, but they had a chance to be pesky in the NCAAs... until the other shoe dropped, as it always does around here, somehow. Howard missed the first round game vs. Baylor and we lost to the Bears. “Fortunately” for us, we won’t remember this in a few years with so many other random injuries/suspensions robbing us of bigger joys to haunt us.
A late entry, but a busy one. Also not likely to be a question that’s going to go away as long as Jim Boeheim coaches this team. With diminishing regular season returns in recent seasons, SU’s been bailed out by postseason runs. But this year, we’re seeing a confluence of issues from a talent, adjustments and execution perspective that likely stops them from even getting a sniff at the NCAAs. So what does that mean for this part of the Boeheim era?
This is almost cheating, since we’re prompting you to share your own stories. But you shared a LOT of games here, and that’s worth acknowledging. I’d argue that much of the Orange sports experience is defined by the “what-ifs” and the losses more than the wins, but maybe that’s just me.
You wanted to turn the page to this season back in March... if only you knew what you were getting into. Those were simpler times, though, with Oshae Brissett expected back and Jalen Carey healthy.
This one looked like a blowout early, with Duke up 12-0 despite no Cam Reddish on the floor. But the tide would turn, the Orange started hitting shots and after an incredible three-quarter court heave to get SU within one at the break, things suddenly looked like they were going to break Syracuse’s way. And then they did. It’s arguably (once again) the win that solidified their tournament resume.
Sports doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and I opted to discuss that a bit in the wake of Deadspin closing up shop. Some of you were happy about that fact. Others, maybe not so much. But the role of media and where sports fits into our larger culture remains a worthwhile topic to explore.
While we haven’t been complaining about scheduling as much lately, there are still numerous aspects of it to take issue with, even when it comes to the games already secured against “lesser” teams. Particularly talking about Liberty there, which we gave a 2-for-1 to more out of necessity due to SU’s own lack of preparedness on a scheduling front than anything else. In game one, the result was a win. But we also supplied a stage we never should have.
I had a front row seat to this nightmare that I wouldn’t even claim to be football — nor would anyone else I talked to at Carter-Finley Stadium, regardless of who they were rooting for. You guys were rightfully pretty annoyed at home as well. Luckily things wouldn’t look this miserable for the entire season.
We get into the carryover of this theme in the second-most commented article on this list. But one of the prevailing themes of Orange hoops for almost 1.5 seasons now has been a complete lack of adjustments when things are going poorly. It’s at least a little concerning, especially when we don’t have the talent level to overcome it like we may have in the past.
Remember when Joe Girard started his Syracuse career hot and a good portion of the fan base had his jersey in the rafters already? Now remember what’s occurred since, when he’s had some good games and some bad while struggling against some better opponents, and plenty of those same people are now pretty annoyed? Probably best to avoid hero worship so early in the game, is all I’m saying.
So I wouldn’t necessarily claim we had as much fun in 2019 as we did in 2018 — a year that featured a surprise 10-win season AND a surprise Sweet 16 run. Still, some joy amid the pain above. Hopefully you enjoyed reading about most of this stuff as we enjoyed writing about it. If you missed any of these posts the first time around, go ahead and check them out again for the writing — but also the enjoyable collections of gifs, #jokesandgarbage and other assorted nonsense included in the comment sections.
As always, thanks for reading.