Thursday, March 29, 2012

Best and Worst Moments from the Best and Worst Season - No. 5

Editor's note: The wounds are still fresh, but we're recapping one of the most memorable seasons in SU Basketball history. It was the best of times ... it was the worst of times. So in that spirit, we'll count down the Top 5 Best and Worst moments in the most up-and-down season any of us can ever remember. 

More from the Best and Worst Moments Series
Best and Worst Moment #4
Best and Worst Moment #3
Best and Worst Moment #2
Best and Worst Moment #1

Best Moment #5
February 25, 2012 - Syracuse 71, UConn 69

You tell 'em, King Jaffy Jo

Let's set the scene here. Saturday night. College Gameday in the house. Syracuse had never beaten hated rival UConn at Gampel Pavilion. Never.

Wile some of the buzz fizzled a little after the dark lord Calhoun would not be gracing us with his presence (despite being rumored otherwise), it built back up as the UConn crowd assembled at Gameday, painted rocks, and spelled their school name 65 times while Hubert Davis screamed and laughed questioning Syracuse's go-to-guy.

The Orange came out ready to slaughter the Huskies as if they were the runts of Michael Vick's litter (still too soon?). Of course it wasn't going to be that easy. Not in this building. Yet behind a Fab Melo putback, some questionable calls, and some OUTSTANDING game-winning defense, the Orange swept the regular season series against UConn. Oh, and they wrapped up a second outright Big East crown in the last three years. 

Worst Moment #5
March 15, 2012 - UNC Asheville 34, Syracuse 30 (Half)

We know, Jim. The refs were terrible. What else is new?

The haters were already out in full force as SU entered the 2012 tournament. With Fab Melo being declared ineligible leading up to the Orange's first round game, many experts predicted an early exit for the No. 1 seed. But no one - not even Doug Gottlieb - thought Syracuse would be challenged by the 16th-seeded UNC Asheville. 

But alas, here we were, on the verge of becoming the answer to a trivia question (again). Asheville connected on five 3-pointers in the first half, while SU inexplicably shot 13 (and made just one) from behind the arc against a starting lineup that featured no one taller than 6-foot-4. 

All our dreams of a Final Four run went completely out the window that day. If you struggle to beat UNC Asheville, how would you ever stand a chance against K-State, Wisconsin and Ohio State? 

Even though the Orange came back to win this game - thanks to some help from the officials on a ball that clearly went off Brandon Triche's hands and out of bounds (though it should have been a foul) and a questionable (though correct call, according to the rules) lane violation - this game just gave more fuel to the mass of Syracuse haters and made us all question how far this team could go. 

It was a down moment, but SU would recover. What else is new?

Gripes of Wrath - by Jim Boeheim

Click Here to read the entire Top 5 Best and Worst Moments Series
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