Last year at this time we wondered if the Syracuse Orange would be able to play their way into the NCAA Tournament discussion. As January was going to a close Syracuse had a record of 9-5, 3-4 in the ACC, and they looked to be in trouble. The Orange found their footing and clawed into the NCAA Tournament where they rode the hot shooting of Buddy Boeheim into the Sweet Sixteen.
It was a feel-good story to watch Jim and Buddy celebrate their success together and when Jimmy Boeheim announced that he’d finish his career at Syracuse it looked like the perfect ending. Syracuse fans have watched the Boeheim brothers grow up. We’ve watched them face off and watching them take the floor and play for their father was something we were excited to see.
This year’s Final Four is back in New Orleans at the Superdome. It was too perfect to imagine that the scene of Syracuse’s first National Championship could provide the perfect backdrop for an amazing ending.
That’s how these stories are supposed to go right? Brothers reunite in their hometown for one last run at the title for the family. They battle through ups and downs and when they hit their magical run they captivate the college basketball world. The journey takes them to the site of their father’s cruelest defeat and greatest victory and when the buzzer sounds the three of them are standing on top of that stage sharing in victory.......
Hollywood agents might find the notion that a 9-11 team finds their stride to be a bit far-fetched but Syracuse doesn’t get to re-write the script for the first twenty games. The Orange are what their record says they are and the frustrations are certainly enhanced because of the hope the story offered.
We aren’t likely to get the fairytale ending in New Orleans. We probably won’t have those “Remember that run in 2022” memories that fans reminisce about with their friends. The way things are going we might not get that gracious exit we hope all of our legends get.
But the funny thing about sports is that just when you think you know what’ll happen, the opposite occurs. This story might not end in New Orleans but there are chapters left to be written and we can still wonder what twists will occur until the dust settles at the end....and at some point we might be able to look back and appreciate the season we got to see two brothers share the court that bears their father’s name.