January 22, 2007

Despite frustration, Orange are aright

Now if you're an Orange fan, I know what you're probably thinking. You can't believe your team just lost to a St. Johns club that coming into Sunday's game was a mediocre 10-8 and only 1-4 in the conference. You can't believe that foolish and seemingly careless play down the stretch cost your Orange its fifth loss of the season. You're trying to figure out how a team that had won in hostile environments like The Rack in New Jersey and the Bradley Center in Wisconsin could lose in Madison Square Garden, a court that has been like a home away from home for them in recent years. But don't abandon ship just yet. Don't throw in the towel or start expecting another early tournament exit for this team. Because as bad as the Orange have played at times, they are still in good shape despite Sunday's loss and here's why.

First, the Orange have already gotten some impressive wins and it's early in the season. They went into Milwaukee and handled the Marquette Golden Eagles, a team that observers of the Big East will notice just recently handed Pittsburgh its first conference loss at home. Marquette has also knocked off Duke, Louisville, and Connecticut at their respective home courts.

Secondly, they dismantled a talented Villanova team. Anyone who watched that game in the Dome saw Boeheim's team play as well as it had all season and shut down the Wildcats. The same Wildcats that have wins over Georgetown, 20th ranked Notre Dame, and 23rd ranked Texas.

Thirdly, despite arguably avoidable losses to Wichita State, Oklahoma State, and most recently St. Johns, the Orange are still sitting in second place in the Big East, one of the deepest and most talented conferences in the country, at an impressive 4-2. They are tied with the likes of sixth ranked Pittsburgh and 20th ranked Notre Dame.

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