I am well aware that the College Basketball regular season is half over, but for the #8 ranked Syracuse Orange it's just getting started.
'Cuse is currently 16-1 and has played anything but their normal early season cupcake schedule so far. They have actually started traveling outside of New York State before Big East play, and within a three week period have had three big early season wins over #18 Florida and #22 Kansas on consecutive nights followed a few weeks later by a win over #22 Memphis. I would also like to point out that the Florida game was played on a neutral site, the Kansas game was too (but anyone that watched it knows it was basically a Kansas home game) and the Memphis game was played in Memphis.
Sandwiched in between these games, was a match-up against Cleveland St. in the Carrier Dome. This is one of the few games that I didn't watch, but lucky me, I will get to see highlights all fucking season. For those of you with your head up your ass, Cleveland St. won this game at the buzzer with a 60 ft. prayer. I would be unbelievably pissed off if it weren't for these other wins because this is the type of early season BS that could have potentially fucked 'Cuse out of the NCAA Tourney for a 3rd consecutive year. Fortunately, those other wins and the way in which they lost to Cleveland St. should prevent that buzzer beater from having much bearing on their NCAA bid.
As for the upcoming schedule, 8 out of the next 10 games are against top 25 teams. I don't know of any other team ever playing against that level of competition, but that is the nature of Big East basketball this year. With that being said, I think 'Cuse creates match-up problems all over the floor (mainly Johnny Flynn and Arinze Onuaku) giving them the ability to beat anyone in the country. I predict they will go 7-3 over the next 10, with the three losses coming at Pitt, at UConn, and home against G'Town.
'Cuse will most likely be a #2 or #3 seed in the NCAA Tournament and maybe a #1 if they can win the Big East Tournament. It is way to early to predict how this will shake out, but I will tell you this:
Syracuse will lose pivotal games and get bounced from the NCAA tournament because of their poor free throw shooting.
Every team, every year has games that they win or lose at the free throw line. It hasn't come down to it yet, but it's going to come back and bite 'Cuse in the ass at some point. They shoot 63.32% as a team which is just not good enough. They have always been a poor FT shooting team, but this year is especially bad. Why they can't make uncontested, stationary 15 footers is fucking beyond me. Arinze Onuaku shoots 100 FTs every day, yet is 41.2% on the year, which is historically, mindbendingly awful (significantly worse than Shaq, Wilt or Ben Wallace).
All I hope is that 'Cuse makes a run at the title, I get to see Johnny Flynn posterize some more people this year and that everyone comes back so that we can make another run next year.