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Syracuse men’s basketball rewatch: Observations from SU’s 2003 win over Missouri

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We have more observations. Come read them.

Syracuse Gerry McNamara, 2002 Coaches vs Cancer Classic SetNumber: X67215 TK2 R2 F13

Ed. note - If you missed the introduction to our Syracuse men’s basketball rewatch series, click here for more information. Today we discuss Syracuse’s 2003 win over Missouri after recapping that game on Thursday.

Back in 2003, the Syracuse Orange(men) took down the Missouri Tigers by a final score of 76-69 inside the Carrier Dome, as Kevin recapped yesterday.

It’s our job here to turn the footnote into the lede, so let me be the first to say that one interesting aspect of rewatching these old Syracuse is games is gaining an understanding of just how much time has passed. We’re all really old. Yes, even you.

Whether it be style of play, old jerseys, players and coaches looking youthful or just old advertisements, you realize how long ago these games were. So, when you see Syracuse tip off against Missouri in 2003 you get a sense of how many times the Carrier Dome court has changed, how much closer the three point line is at 19-feet and nine inches and just how obsolete advertisements for Conagra Foods, Sierra Mist and Nextel Wireless are. You have to remember that this really was a point in time where Boston College was good and Bob Knight was the head coach of Texas Tech University.

Okay, so once you stop feeling like an antique we can talk about the significance of Syracuse’s win over No. 11 Missouri back then. Syracuse picked up its first ranked win of the season again the Tigers and the win made it 11th straight for SU.

The victory gave Syracuse its first appearance in the AP poll of the season the following Monday (Remember: Syracuse came into the season unranked and dropped the season opener against Memphis). Given Missouri’s conference affiliation at the time, it also marked the first of many Syracuse wins over the Big 12 that season. Perhaps you recall?

Fans celebrate Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

The game against Missouri also showed what Syracuse was capable of. The Tigers were ranked throughout the season and Syracuse hadn’t beaten an NCAA Tournament-caliber team prior (only loss to eventual No. 7 seed Memphis). Members of the ‘03 team have since stated that the win over Georgia Tech gave them belief that they could be a really good team and that belief likely carried into the win over Missouri.

As fate would have it, Syracuse went on to win the National Championship as you surely know. While we shouldn’t place too much emphasis on a January win, it’s obvious it put Syracuse on the right track. It was somewhat fair that some had doubts about Syracuse prior to that point without a key win. But that game gave others — and likely Syracuse — confidence that the Orange were for real.

Here are my rewatch game notes, just in case you give a sh*t:

  • Syracuse court design has evolved so many times
  • Bill Raftery on call for ESPN. Agh, the good ole days
  • *Craig Forth scores*, “He did come... Forth!” — Never change, Raft
  • Quin Snyder’s hair looks the same as it does now
  • The curtain! Remember the curtain?
  • Gerry used screens really well. Moving without the ball was such an underrated aspect of his game
  • Conagra foods/Sierra Mist/Nextel/Cingular ads... lol
  • Mizzou defense is doubling Melo on every play and you can’t blame them
  • Steal and score by McNamara before the half was a huge momentum play
  • Forth emerging in 2H!
  • Offense picks up behind Melo and Forth (?)
  • McNamara comes on late with two big 3s
  • Taco Time achieved late. All is right in the world of awful tacos in 2003.