When a team leaves one league for another, it is usually done for a program to elevate their national relevancy. It is not uncommon for a program from a small to a mid-major conference to join a power conference in the hopes of cashing in as well as furthering their brand of hoops.
Then, there is a team like the Syracuse Orange, who wanted to jump off of Mike Aresco‘s sinking ship before it was at the bottom of the irrelevancy ocean.
The Orange boarded a life raft, and then paddled over to a luxury cruise ship called the Atlantic Coast Conference. With the Big East being much different next season and the American Athletic Conference being a full-scale abomination, Syracuse has potentially landed in the best basketball conference in all the land. Surely, the ACC has an early head start and lead in favor of the new Big East (Catholic Seven version).
Somehow, the move to the ACC has made some “experts” question Syracuse’s chances in their new conference. They wonder how their brand of zone defense, Jim Boeheim-styled offense and whatever else trots through their cranium will fare during the Orange’s initial run through the league.
It is as if people have forgotten that the program has battled in a league that has been as good if not better than the ACC since Boeheim first started picking his nose on the sidelines. Or the very, very recent deep run in the big dance the Orange went on.
If Syracuse was to struggle in the first year or two in the ACC, it won’t be because of their inability to adapt to playing against new foes — it will be because of the players on their roster. Their success/failures won’t be affected by some otherworldly force that has somehow made the ACC a magical mountain that cannot be climbed, and made the Orange’s 30-plus years of college basketball awesomeness vanish into thin air.
So how about we stop making a mountain out of Syracuse’s first-year-in-the-ACC molehill. It is not like Boeheim will forget how to coach, or his staff will forget who to recruit, or the players will forget how to play, or …
Get the point?
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone