5 Reasons Why Syracuse Won’t Go Undefeated
5 Reasons Why Syracuse Won't Go Undefeated
Through 25 games, Syracuse has managed to keep a spotless record in its inaugural season in the ACC. Entering Wednesday night's home game against lowly Boston College, it looks as if the Orange will make it 26 straight wins.
Syracuse may not be the prettiest or most talented team in college basketball, but they sure know how to get it done. With key wins over Villanova, Pittsburgh (twice) and Duke, the Orange are in the driver's seat for the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament next month.
Led by freshman guard Tyler Ennis, sharpshooting sophomore Trevor Cooney and senior forward C.J. Fair, the Orange look to maintain their sparkling record as February soon comes to a close and the promise of glory in March rises upon the college basketball world.
But will Jim Boeheim's squad continue to keep a clean record and stay undefeated?
As of late, the Orange have been squeaking past opponents by the slimmest of margins. Starting back with the epic overtime victory over Duke on Feb. 1, Syracuse has managed to stave off possible upsets by Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and NC State. This recent stretch of close calls can mean two things. Either the Orange know how to close out opponents or they are one slip-up away from recording their first loss of the season.
After losing Brandon Triche, James Southerland and Michael Carter-Williams from last year's Final Four team, the Orange have exceeded preseason expectations and look to make another deep run in the tournament. But can they go undefeated?
Not going to happen.
Here are five reasons why Syracuse won't stay perfect.
5. Luck Will Run Out
Syracuse has found a stroke of luck in the month of February.
It all started back on the first of the month against new conference rival Duke. The Orange pulled out an overtime victory against the Blue Devils largely because of Duke foul trouble. It took a Tyler Ennis miracle buzzer beater to take down Pittsburgh on the road, and the Orange only escaped their last game because of costly NC State mistakes. Yes, keeping an undefeated record does require some luck, but if you rely on luck to pull out most of your games it will run out sooner rather than later.
4. Tyler Ennis Is Still A Freshman
For the most part of this season, Tyler Ennis has played like a senior as opposed to the freshman he is. But his last game against NC State proves that even the most talented freshmen in the country are indeed still freshmen.
Ennis bailed out his team against Pittsburgh but almost cost the Orange against the Wolfpack. With the game in the balance, Ennis fouled Ralston Turner on a three-pointer, missed a highly contested layup in an attempt to tie the game and committed an offensive foul with 14.7 seconds left. Luckily for Syracuse it was able to squeak out a victory, but this game goes to show you that Ennis is human and will make freshmen mistakes that could cost the Orange later on down the road.
3. Road Game At Virginia
If Syracuse stays undefeated through the end of February, it will have a tough time staying perfect on Mar. 1.
In the only meeting between the two teams this season, Syracuse travels to Charlottesville to take on Virginia. The Cavaliers are having a superb season and enter this weekend with a 22-5 overall record and a 13-1 conference record. As it stands right now, Virginia is the only challenger Syracuse has for the ACC regular season championship.
Because this game will likely decide who wins the conference, the hype and anticipation surrounding this contest will be enormous. Expect a raucous crowd at the John Paul Jones Arena to play a huge role in a Syracuse defeat.
2. Duke Rematch
But before that showdown at Virginia, Syracuse will have to go through Duke on Saturday.
Back on Feb. 1, it took an overtime effort to take down the Blue Devils at the Carrier Dome. In that epic match-up, Duke faced plenty of foul trouble as freshman sensation Jabari Parker and sophomore forward Amile Jefferson fouled out in the final two minutes of the game. Duke was able to tie the game thanks to a Rasheed Sulaimon three-pointer as time expired, but Syracuse took advantage of the shorthanded Blue Devil frontcourt in overtime and won 91-89.
This time around, Duke will be in the comfort of Cameron Indoor Stadium with its best friends, the Cameron Crazies. You better believe Coach K will have his guys ready to compete against the Orange in front of their home crowd come Saturday night.
1. It's A Hard Thing To Do
There is a reason why this doesn't happen often.
Going through a college basketball season, when teams usually play close to 30 games, without a single defeat is extremely rare. Both Syracuse and Wichita State have the opportunity to do it. The last time two teams were undefeated this late in the season was back in 2003-04 when both Stanford and St. Joseph's held a clean slate for the first 26 games. Stanford would end up fumbling away its perfect record, but St. Joe's remained undefeated throughout the regular season.
Will Syracuse be the first team to stay undefeated in the regular season since St. Joe's?