A clear cut winner this week, as Syracuse Orange Coach Jim Boeheim takes top honors for his antics in coaching with passion costing his team the game Saturday night against Duke. To set the scene: Cuse with the ball, down 2, 15 seconds left, looking to go 2-0 against Duke on the year and seeking to avenge their first (and embarrassing) loss at home to Boston College. Then see what happens:
Now, was this a bad call? Of course. It should have been a block. Basket should have counted and CJ should have gone to the line to give Cuse the lead. Instead, Boeheim gets a double T, gets ejected, Duke shoots 4 free throws, and they win by 6.
Make no mistake about it: Jim Boeheim cost them the game. Blame the refs all you want (SU fans), but the real fault lies with the Coach. It was idiotic for many reasons, but worst of all: Syracuse still had a chance to win the game. Even with the bad call, Cuse was still only down 2 with 10.4 seconds left. If you’ve watched any SU basketball at all this year, you know they have a knack of pulling out close games (those Cardiac Cuse t-shirts are selling like hotcakes at Wegmans). Also, Duke was shaky from the line. They missed 10 free throws, so it’s no gimme that they would make both free throws if they got the ball back…that’s assuming SU doesn’t force a turnover. Point is: with 10.4 seconds to go, the game was far from over.
But Boeheim didn’t give his team a chance. He gave up on them, and in so doing, showed his true character, which, if you haven’t figured it out by now, is a ornery, volatile, take my ball and go home old man. On the plus side, it gave those creative internet photoshop kids a field day.
Surprisingly though, many Cuse fans The Machine spoke with gave Boeheim a pass. “He showed his players he’s got their back.” they said. “He’s a passionate coach who wears his heart on his sleeve.” they said. “He wouldn’t do that if it was an elimination game.” Well, The Machine’s here to call you out for your blatant homerism.
Why should Boeheim get a pass??? If CJ Fair blew up and got ejected, do you think people would be running to his defense, saying he plays with passion? No, he would’ve been vilified for acting like a selfish, me-first athlete who can’t control his emotions. Why should we treat Boeheim any different? If anything, it’s more excusable for a college player—you know, the teenager/early 20 something year old “student”—to flip out after a call like that. But not the seasoned, championship-winning coach. The coach is supposed to have perspective, to understand the bigger picture. To rally his team when faced with adversity. Well, Boeheim did the exact opposite: he gave up, and giving him a pass because he’s the coach is—as he repeatedly reminded the ref at midcourt—bullshit.
Also, his antics overshadowed what is quickly becoming the next great college basketball rivalry. This was Syracuse’s first trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium. With Syracuse in the ACC, these two teams will play each other twice a year (and likely three times if you include their inevitable matchup in the ACC Championship Game [sidebar: yes, it will be weird to see SU play in a conference tournament that’s not at MSG, but we digress].
Anyway, when SU and Duke played in Syracuse three weeks ago, it was an epic matchup. A record-setting crowd in the Dome, 35,000+ screaming fans, and the game did not disappoint. Rasheed Sulaimon for Duke hit a game-tying three at the buzzer, but Syracuse was able to hold on and pull out a two point victory in overtime. Now, that game also had a late game controversial call. With Duke down 1, 12 seconds left in regulation, Rodney Hood went up for a dunk and Rakeem Christmas fouled blocked the shot. Many people thought a foul should’ve been called. We’re guessing Coach K thought a foul should’ve been called. But there’s the difference between Coach K and Coach Boeheim: Coach K controlled his emotions, and gave his team a chance to win.
For that reason alone, Coach K will always get the nod as the better coach…not to mention the more wins and national championships.
But wait, says the passionate,
blindly loyal SU fan, Coach Boeheim was bringing his team together, taking the pressure off them, and getting them ready for the NCAA tourney. First, how metta of you. Second, really? How did SU perform in its next game against Maryland on Monday night? SU barely won against a Maryland team with 13 losses that they should have easily beat. Not really the rallying cry now, is it? More telling, let’s here from CJ Fair, SU’s star player on his thoughts on his Coach:
Exactly, give your team the chance to win. Instead, Coach Boeheim proved to the world he’s nothing more than a poor man’s Bobby Knight. At least learn how to take your jacket off or throw something.
Enjoy your teabag.