Blum: Syracuse playing rest of NCAA Tournament on borrowed time

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 23, 2016 at 10:02 pm Syracuse could lay an egg against Gonzaga. It could let big men Kyle Wiltjer and Domantas Sabonis dominate the Orange on the glass. Everything could go wrong on Friday night and it won’t change the perception of what was accomplished in St. Louis.Because, as Boeheim said, the season is right now. The season that mattered started when Syracuse made the Tournament. And since then, it’s collected two nearly flawless wins. In 2014, Syracuse started 25-0, but that fact is only a footnote to an upset by 11th-seeded Dayton. Whatever happens against the Bulldogs, it can’t take that away.“I think we just have to make sure we understand that there’s a lot to be done, a lot can be done,” Boeheim said after the MTSU win. “A lot of good things can happen and we have to focus on that, the next game, and not really look backwards. There will be time to look backwards some day.”And while backwards is the only direction for Michigan State to look, there’s still life for a Syracuse season that’s continuing on borrowed time. Comments Related Stories Why Tyler Roberson can be a consistently dominant rebounder for SyracuseSyracuse basketball opponent preview: What to know about GonzagaSyracuse basketball roundtable: How to handle Gonzaga’s threats and how SU can improveDougherty: The Syracuse zone is keeping the madness at bayNCAA Tournament: 10 fun facts about Gonzaga ST. LOUIS — Tom Izzo barely had 10 minutes to let the end of his season sink in. He sat at the postgame press conference and tried to hold his emotions together as he explained Michigan State’s inexplicable loss to Middle Tennessee State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. He couldn’t. He cried. He rubbed his eyes. He paused for seconds at a time.Everything his team had accomplished all season. A 29-6 record. A Big Ten title. The development of Denzel Valentine, one of college basketball’s best players. It was all seemingly rendered meaningless by one fluke of a game. And Izzo, the head coach and captain of the ship, couldn’t help but break down.“I don’t care about next year. I don’t care about tomorrow,” Izzo said. “I just care about the present and what they did for me, for us. And somehow I’ve got to make sure in all this disappointment, that it is not lost. Because that’s the problem with sports, it does get lost.”Izzo calls it a “problem.” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim called it “unfortunate.” A team can go through an entire season, but still have it be defined by the success in this one-and-done Tournament. For someone like Izzo, the Tournament rendered one of the best regular seasons in program history far less meaningful.But for a team like the Orange, that has gone through the lows of an 0-4 start to the conference season, that has dealt with a suspended head coach and a stressful 100 hours between an Atlantic Coast Conference tournament loss and Selection Sunday, this Tournament has quickly redefined the season’s legacy. The No. 10 seed Orange is playing on borrowed time, and will have the chance to advance to the Elite Eight when it faces 11th-seeded Gonzaga at 9:40 p.m. on Friday.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“The Tournament has become, unfortunately, the season,” Boeheim said. “Coaches are getting fired everyday now because they don’t get their team to the Sweet 16. Especially for the good teams, everything hinges on what you do in the Tournament.”He may consider it unfortunate, but that’s far from the case for the team Boeheim is coaching now. He knows how lucky his team is to even just be playing, and readily admits that he hoped to just play in Dayton’s First Four round when the selection show started a week and a half ago.Syracuse is two wins in and two wins from a Final Four. No one could have predicted this or hoped for it. There were no expectations attached to this postseason. Just a prayer that the Orange would, at the very least, get to play in it.“To get into the NCAA Tournament, it feels good,” Trevor Cooney said. “To win both of these games, I mean, it’s unbelievable. We just have to keep it going.”MORE COVERAGE: Why Tyler Roberson can be a consistently dominant rebounder for SyracuseSyracuse basketball opponent preview: What to know about GonzagaSyracuse basketball roundtable: How to handle Gonzaga’s threats and how SU can improveNCAA Tournament: 10 fun facts about GonzagaDougherty: The Syracuse zone is keeping the madness at baylast_img read more