Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Best and Worst Moments from the Best and Worst Season - No. 2

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 #5
Best and Worst Moment #4
Best and Worst Moment #3
Best and Worst Moment #1

Best Moment #2
December 12, 2011 - SU moves to #1 in both polls, haters hate

It's OK, Scoop. We're #1, not #2. You can admit it.

Two days after Kentucky and Ohio State dropped their first games of the season, and exactly one month after the start of the season, Syracuse was once again voted the #1 team in the nation. With ten wins under it's belt, including one against #9 ranked Florida, the Orange were deserving. So deserving indeed, that the normal Syracuse fan insecurity rage (SFIR for short) was aimed at the few individual voters not putting SU number one in their polls.

Each week, SFIR is pointed towards the Ron Morris's and Doug Gottleib's of the media. While it's a bit ridiculous, it's a great issue to have. It's the second time Syracuse is ranked number 1 in the past 3 years, and this time they stayed there ... for six weeks.

That's right. For a month and a half of the season, Syracuse was ranked as the top team in the nation. Despite dropping 2 games the rest of the way, the Orange never fell below #2 in the polls. In this up and down season, take that fact, bathe in it. Rinse. Repeat. That's one hell of an accomplishment.

While all the haters predictably hated, and the Orange faithful predictably hated back, the team was considered one of the finest in the nation, and were awarded the coveted #1 seed in the East. It looked like Syracuse had an excellent chance to make the Final Four, at least in the eyes of the Syracuse fans. Most analysts liked Syracuse to drop in the round of 32. But hey, nice marketing strategy, some fanbase has to fill up your comment section and email inbox.


Worst Moment #2
March 13, 2012 - Fab Melo suspended ... again

The NCAA title remained out of reach without Fab

This was a dark day. Two days away from the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Syracuse was going in healthy and ready to show the world it earned its #1 seed in the East Region. It would be a wonderful ride, perhaps to the Final Four and Beyond.

Then the announcement. Fab Melo would not play in the tournament because of continued academic issues.

Just devastating. Surely you remember the feeling. The five stages of Fab Melo grief. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. A lot of us still haven't even made it through them all.

In most seasons, this would be the most soul-crushing thing to happen to a program. A star player, perhaps the most irreplaceable on the team, lost for the rest of the season on the eve of the tournament. A season destined for the Final Four, suddenly on the brink of collapse. But obviously, this was not most seasons (we'll get to that).

The next two days took on a tone of dread. How would SU even make it to Boston? Then suddenly, how would they beat UNC Asheville? Somehow, they persevered, and came within a few plays of the Final Four. But we all knew, whether we wanted to admit it or not, the season ended right here.

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