Are you ready for the Madness? In Syracuse, not so much

Did you pick a bracket somewhere, anywhere, this year?

My dear wife Karen and I dove into two pools. We chose our brackets by passing my iPad Air back and forth Tuesday. If my alma mater Maryland wins six games in a row, let me tell you, I may make a bit of a splash. I know you’re not supposed to pick with your heart, but my squad has not made the big dance in five years, and what a great season we’ve had …

Then came Wednesday, and some news in my hometown Syracuse about its men’s basketball team, which will not be participating in March Madness because of a self-imposed penalty brought on by a laundry list of NCAA violations.

In this city, fans have been waiting to hear whether or not the university and Coach Jim Boeheim would be appealing penalties that include giving up more than 100 victories, a nine-game suspension at the start of league play for the coach next year, and the loss of three scholarships a season for four seasons.

Syracuse lost.

Syracuse’s last game this season, vs. North Carolina State.

Yes, said the news flash, Syracuse would appeal. And, oh, athletic director Daryl Gross would not be directing the department any longer after a decade of his leadership. And, um, Jim Boeheim will retire after three seasons.

Stop the presses.

Yes, Boeheim is 70 years old. But to hear the news that he’s going to relinquish his job behind the Syracuse bench after three more seasons is just … just … unexpected. The guys a fighter, and this announcement at this point in time does not sound like a Boeheim move. He looks young. He acts strong. He’s always defiant.

Here’s the link for a column I wrote about it for my community blog on Syracuse Public Media site waer.org.

Anyway, it’s certainly going to make for some interesting conversation around Syracuse when the March Madness Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight rounds of the East Regional hit the Carrier Dome next week.

Out-of-towner: Where should I eat? What do you think about Boeheim?

Syracuse fan: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is great but the wait will be long. And I can’t freaking believe it.

Who did you pick to make the Final Four? Win the national championship? What did you think when you heard that Jim Boeheim will retire in three years?

40 thoughts on “Are you ready for the Madness? In Syracuse, not so much

  1. I’m ready!! I filled out 3, one was for my online teaching job and the winner gets…wait for it….a t-shirt. Big whoop. I have Kentucky over VA, Kentucky over Louisville, and Kentucky over the Zags in my brackets!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good Final Four, Hollie, though I thought you way more adventurous than a chalk-picker with the undefeated ‘Cats. πŸ™‚ It’s going to be hard splitting that T-shirt with half your pool. Hahaha. Just kidding with you. It would be pretty wild for a squad to go undefeated again after all these years! I had to pick my Terps to beat them in the Sweet Sixteen, devoted (read, dumb) alum that I am. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

      • My family is from Kentucky so I had to go with them, I almost always take them to the final four if not the championship game. The good news is everyone out here always picks KAnsas even the years they suck and even though they have a habit of choking!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I entered a tournament this year! Ha! I picked Wisconsin to win it all (alma mater), Notre Dame, Gonzaga, and I can’t remember the 4th. This will be the first year I’ll be paying attention.
    Too bad about Syracuse. The kids pay for the mistakes of the coaches and staff.

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  3. This will be the first year in about 20 years that I won’t fill out a bracket and participate in a pool. Not because of Syracuse (I’m at heart a MD fan), but the excitement just isn’t there. Kentucky has already been crowned champion, some conferences are way over-rated, and the hype just isn’t what it use to be. I’ll watch but won’t be upset if I have to miss a few games.

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    • I’m surprised, Joe, because this is the first year that Maryland has made it in five, first time dancing under Turgeon, one for one in the Big Ten. I’m more excited because of Maryland than I was in the swan song years of Gary Williams, to be honest. Now watch your home state squad and my alma mater choke in round one vs. Valpo. I also think Kentucky can be upset. It happens with 20 year olds. Just saying!

      Liked by 1 person

      • think the administration played this as well as they could. Easing Gross out was imperative–he was the ringleader of the Fab Melo fiasco. Troubled by a statement Syverud made–about the need to create a culture where academics aren’t afraid to stand up to athletic dept. staff. Wow! Look how far over the deep end the U. went.

        Jimmy B? He strikes me as playing the Sgt. Schultz (from Hogan’s Heroes) role in this affair: ” I see nooothing!” At least they gave him the courtesy to name his own date and not freak out the next 2 years of recruits.

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      • Yeah, the Chancellor admitted much with that statement, Phil. And I think the negotiations for this three-year retirement agreement must have been something to behold, with Boeheim starting with not wanting to name any time period at all and the administration starting lower than three.

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  4. Someone on my other group always puts together a bracket pool on ESPN, and I always enter and get clobbered. I don’t follow CBB at all. This year, my entry is aptly named the Blind Squirrel picks. I can’t even remember who I picked to win it all… Kansas, I think. I doubt I will find an acorn this year either…

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    • When in doubt, pick the team everybody who lives around you will be rooting for, Bill. That’s the easiest way when you’re not really a follower of the sport. Gives you a common bond if you decide to go to the store and buy some chicken wings or something!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My team, of course is in the SEC, but I’m sure you can guess which one I picked. I don’t watch the games, of course, but still, Kentucky hasn’t had a season like this since 1954, so I’m still almost holding my breath. While I still bleed blue I would just as soon not turn blue over a ball game, but I do wear my KY Wild Cats shirt on occasion. And I do cheer them on GO CATS. And it would be nice to win the trophy, and end the season undefeated after all these years. But again, I’ll have to read about it in the paper, or call my son, because I don’t watch the games.

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    • You have to root from Don’s squad, the home state team, sis Angie. They are playing right now and winning by 30. By the way, I am very glad that your dog relative Ellie B is lying on the couch right here as I type this because I strong skunk smell just came shooting through our closed windows. Our little visitor is hanging around the backyard again.

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      • Sniff, sniff. Yick! I’m glad Ellie B is inside too. One thing I don’t miss about country life is the family of skunks that strutted past our house every morning. Try striking a match when it goes by. The sulfur smell will get rid of the skunk.
        Our cuzzin was at the game today, so I already heard about the score. Sure would be great if we can go all the way. I think Don could feed off that for the next 50 years if he had to.

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      • I know Mark. I think I’m turning KY blue from holding my breath, afraid one of the players will be injured and that will be IT.
        Can you build a skunk trap and get rid of them? Don’t forget to strike the matches. It really helps.

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  6. i’ve picked ky, az, va, and sds in my final four, with ky taking it all. as for your coach and ad, not totally surprised, but it’s sad nonetheless. i know there is a lot of history there, but the school wants to make a fresh start I’m sure –

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  7. One year, I worked at a law firm where they did that, and I picked some good choices, but didn’t contribute any money. I was disappointed that I didn’t play for real. Another year, I worked at a firm that actually MADE us participate with money, and I didn’t get a single one correct! 😦 I’ve never played again.

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