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Syracuse Basketball: Loss Could End Impressive Streak For Orange

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The nationally-ranked Orange will face their biggest test Thursday night, as they face the Cal Golden Bears at Madison Square Garden. A loss could lead to an impressive streak coming to an end for SU.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Entering Thursday night's showdown with the California Golden Bears at Madison Square Garden, the Syracuse Orange men's basketball team will be playing for a bit more than just their first power-conference victory of the 2014-15 season.

The Orange (2-0), ranked No. 23 in the AP Poll and No. 24 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll, could also be playing to keep their national ranking. This is significant because, believe it or not, SU has been nationally ranked in the AP Poll for 96 straight weeks.

The streak began almost five years ago, during the 2009-10 season, when the Orange snuck into the poll on Nov. 23. after beating, coincidently, nationally-ranked Cal (No. 13) and the North Carolina Tar Heels (No. 6) in back-to-back days to win the 2K Classic Tournament crown.

As the season progressed, the Wesley Johnson-Andy Rautins led squad kept winning at a consistent enough clip to climbed all the way to No. 1 in the country on March 1. Thanks to some solid recruiting and roster building from Jim Boeheim and his coaching staff, the Orange never left the polls, even though, there were some three- and four-game losing streaks suffered in the time span.

During the current streak, SU has been ranked No. 1 in the country for 10 of those weeks. The Orange were ranked in the top 5 for over 50 of these weeks and never fell lower than 19th in the AP Poll–which came at the tail end of the 2012-13 regular season.

ACC & the AP Poll Current Streak No. 1 All-Time Top 10 All-Time
Duke Blue Devils 137 127 600
Syracuse Orange 96 17 252
Louisville Cardinals 43 2 265
Virginia Cavaliers 8 12 79
North Carolina Tar Heels 5 108 624

If the streak does come to an end after this week, it should go down as one of the most impressive during Boeheim's tenure. It is a tribute to all that he does–win.

Editor Note: If you haven't been paying attention, the ACC has four teams ranked in the top 10 with No. 4 Duke, No. 6 North Carolina, No. 8 Louisville and No. 9 Virginia. Also, Miami earned a Top 10 victory over No. 7 Florida on Monday night. #goACC