What’s Next for Syracuse Basketball
(image courtesy of the Syracuse Post-Standard)
Syracuse fans hopes were dashed after the Syracuse Orange lost to the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Elite 8. Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger, Aaron Craft, and the referees proved to be insurmountable obstacles for the Orange, though they did not go down without a fight.
All season long, the team found a way to win, losing only one regular season game. The Orange ended the regular season 30-1, a record that beat the 2003 national championship team. Although the 2012 team record was better than the 2003 teams, the two journeys seemed eerily parallel.
In 2003, the team’s winning streak came to an end, when it lost to Cincinnati Bearcats in the semi-finals of the Big East tournament. Syracuse still advanced to the finals, and in the Sweet Sixteen, the team beat Wisconsin by one point, advancing to the Elite Eight. The 2003 team won in the same fashion, by a mere point.
Syracuse seemed to be on their way to a national title.
Neither the 2003 or the 2012 basketball teams brought home a national championship, but Syracuse fans are losing something more than their hopes for a title.
Fans knew they would lose Kris Joseph and Scoop Jardine as seniors, but they didn’t expect more team member losses. Sophomore Dion Waiters announced previously that he would be entering the 2012 draft, and as of this week, Fab Melo elected to go pro as well.
Now, the Orange will be losing four solid players, three of which were starters. Will Syracuse have to hang up hopes of making another national title run next year, or will their current bench-members save the team completely?
Jim Boeheim never goes into a season without a plan, and next year will not be the exception. Boeheim has a plan, and it resides in next year senior Brandon Triche.
Triche has yet to emerge as a team leader, and a forceful player. He showed that he has the ability to emerge as a dominant player in the tournament. The season may well ride on Triche.
While it is likely Rakeem Christmas will remain a starter, fans are satisfied with this since he proved his skills. Fans watched him prove himself in the 120 minutes of the tournament more than he had all year. Christmas will have big shoes to fill, but he has already proven he can take on the task.
CJ Fair, known as the glue of the team, struggled in the tournament as a starter, but coming from the bench to the starting line-up is an adaptation; he will be just fine.
Michael Carter-Williams, who he received no playing time in the tournament, will also be great next season. Fans have seen what he was capable of, especially in Orange’s thrilling victory over St Johns. He will likely start next year.
This team will undoubtedly go far next year, maybe not 34-3, but we shall see!