Could there have been two better games to start the Duke/Cuse rivalry in the ACC? Both were INTENSE games that came down to the final minute and we’re decided by controversial calls/non-calls. As a basketball fan, they were fantastic theater. As a Cuse fan, they were stressful to say the least.
The history of the programs and coaches were enough to make this new rivalry an intriguing one but after these first two conference games, I expect every time these two teams play to be legendary. Thanks to the ACC tournament, it’s likely that Cuse and Duke will meet again for a rubber game and of course there’s a possibility that they can play each other in the NCAA Tournament.
Having said all of that, last night’s offensive foul call against C.J. Fair in the final minute was a horrendous call. It decided the game and Hood was clearly still moving his feet into the position when he and Fair made contact. If anything, it should have been a blocking foul sending Fair to the line for a potential game-winning free throw.
Boeheim saw how terrible the call was and freaked out, received two technicals and got thrown out of the game. I love that Boeheim got that upset because that was a HUGE call but obviously there’s still a chance that we can win if his technicals don’t give them 4 free throws. So, the future Hall of Famer has received some criticism for costing the Orange a chance to win.
I don’ t see it that way though. Yes, we could have fouled, hoped they missed one and hit a three to tie. But the game was over when that call was made. This was a big game and Boeheim’s reaction felt totally warranted given what had just played out on the court.
So Syracuse has lost two in a row and now we’ve got to turnaround and play Maryland on the road Monday night, then Virginia on the road on Saturday. The perfect regular season was an unrealistic dream but I still held out hope nonetheless. Now I’m relieved that we lost on Wednesday to BC because receiving your first loss in the fashion that we did on Saturday would have been heartbreaking.
Even with both of those losses, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi projects that we will still be the #1 team in the country. That would be nice but now that the Duke games are done and we are no longer undefeated, it’s time to focus on the postseason. I hope we learn from these losses, become better and gain the extra motivation needed to win the ACC tournament and then follow that up with another Final Four.