For our legion of SU basketball fans, this week’s Tuesday Teabag is extra special, just like you. As SU prepares for the Sweet 16, let’s recap: It seems like ages ago, but remember the Big East Championship game (which was only a mere 10 days ago)? Cuse was playing Louisville, up 16 in the second half, and then all hell broke loose. They had no answer for Pitino’s pressure trap, couldn’t buy a bucket, and completely fell apart. They ended up losing by 17, a 31 point swing in about 15 minutes (read: 50 minutes real time).
That collapse was fresh in the minds of the Selection Committee, as they handed Syracuse a 4 seed…matching them up against the Montana Grizzlies. On top of that, there are rumors that the NCAA is close to handing down major sanctions against the program for multiple violations (let me guess: players actually weren’t going to class).
Anyway, all of this turmoil led our friend Seth Davis, a writer from Sports Illustrated and CBS analyst during the NCAA tournament (who, by the way, we are big fans of), to boldly claim that Syracuse would lose to Montana in the first round. The result: Syracuse won by 47, absolutely smoking Montana. How lopsided was it? If Syracuse didn’t score a single point in the second half, they still would’ve won by 4.
Look, we’re not mad at Seth for going out on a limb and (attempting to) pick an upset. If you recall, we ragged on Seth Greenberg last week for picking all #1 seeds to get to the Final Four (FYI, we told you Gonzaga sucked). Upsets happen all the time…it’s what makes the NCAA Tournament so special (are you listening college football?). And we certainly don’t want to discourage the “experts” picking the underdog. But when you pick an upset, and not only do they not upset, but suffer the largest measure of defeat in the NCAA tournament in more than 25 years…then you just look silly.
Now, in Seth’s defense, he was a good sport about it. After making his pick, he made a bet with Syracuse radio DJs Gomez and Dave (sidebar: who knew there were radio DJs in Syracuse besides Ted and Amy?) to wear an orange wig if Syracuse won…and true to his word, he did. Smart move on his part…take the focus off the fact that you made the Worst. Prediction. Ever. and instead turn it into something funny.
Point is: if you’re going to pick an upset, do your homework, which must consist of more than what happened in their last game. And you know what’s really ironic? What if Syracuse didn’t blow that lead against Louisville in the Big East Championship? Likely, they would’ve been seeded higher than 4, possibly a 2, perhaps switching spots with Georgetown. What happened to the Hoyas this week?
Anyway, we’re not saying the Cuse is going to win it all. They got a tough match up against Indiana on Thursday (oh Keith Smart, we have not forgotten about you). But when you predict a blizzard, and instead it’s sunny and 72, you need to be put in your place. And that’s where The Machine comes in.
Enjoy your teabag.
UPDATE: Syracuse 61, Indiana 50. Break out that wig again Seth!