Either Syracuse or Duke will leave with a losing streak

The front of the latest Syracuse Orange slogan shirt.

An Syracuse Orange slogan shirt that became an instant clasic.

Oh, the delicious psychology of sports. Mind games, for fans, will forever be entwined with real games. When Syracuse plays Duke in a return match tonight in Durham, N.C., which team will have the advantage above the neck?

As the Orange’s first loss of the season — 62-59 to Atlantic Coast Conference lowbie Boston College in SU’s Carrier Dome on Wednesday night — began to sink in, I began to rationalize.

Maybe getting that first loss and all the attendant baggage out of the way before the trip south will be a good thing for the top-ranked Syracuse men’s basketball squad.

Some of the pressure has been let out of the cooker.

The talk of all the last-minute heroics needed to remain unbeaten since that first overtime thriller over the Blue Devils in the dome three weeks ago will have died down some.

The question of whether or not it would be better to lose before going into the NCAA Tournament had become moot.

Roll out the basketballs and let these two well-matched squads play.

And then Duke went and lost to its top rival, North Carolina, in Chapel Hill on Thursday night.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski all but called out his squad after the 74-66 loss, telling reporters that whatever the “special it” is, Duke did not have it while losing a big second-half lead to the Tar Heels.

Duke will be as hungry to atone for that loss as the Orange will be to make up for falling to Boston College.

Which team will show the most fortitude in the game of wills that so often plays a major role when talent is so close?

Only one thing is certain. Either Syracuse or Duke is going to wake up Sunday morning with a two-game losing streak eating at the psyche.

TVs around the country will be tuned in to ESPN at 7 p.m. to discover if the two teams can duplicate the intensity and pure sports magic of the first overtime classic. In Syracuse, the Palace Theatre again will open its doors for free, at 4 p.m. The 680 or so capacity was filled before game time last Saturday. The bigger Landmark Theatre also will show the game for free today, on two big screens, one in the lobby and another on the stage.

In your opinion, how important is the mental aspect to sports?

10 thoughts on “Either Syracuse or Duke will leave with a losing streak

  1. I am not sure but when OSU plays Michigan, we are all about the scarlet and gray. I am more of a football and baseball fan than basketball. Sorry that I cannot give you much feedback about mental abilities of athletes, either! Smiles and I support your fervor to win!


  2. i don’t think the ‘get the loss out of the way’ philosophy is too far-fetched. i think psychology and mindset are huge in sports. good luck to orange, the palace is sure to be rocking tonight )


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