Listen to your coach, Syracuse

The Orange men's basketball team is the top-ranked team in the country for the first time since 1990. Head coach Jim Boeheim says it's time to stop celebrating, and Halftime Snack thinks fans should listen up.

College basketball fans are emotional, narrow-minded, and hard of hearing. In other words: just like the players. The blood pressure is rising, the sweaty bodies are banging around, and you never want the passion to be in question. And then you ignore your coach.

The current Orange squad, more talented and balanced than many can remember, and is 27-2 beacuse they believed in the system the head coach set up. The result: Syracuse received the top ranking in both major college basketball polls released on Monday.

What does the team’s Hall of Fame coach think the program’s return to the top spot after 20 years?

“It doesn’t matter at all in our game where you’re rated,” Jim Boeheim (pictured) interrupted a reporter’s talking about losses by No. 1 Kansas and No. 2 Kentucky after his team beat No. 7 Villanova. “Just does not matter.

“If it were football, I’d be really happy right here. I just try and hold on for a couple more games and then we’d be in the national championship. That’d be a great thing, wouldn’t it?”

Boeheim, ever present of his audience (which was over 100 media members Saturday night), shot a knowing glance at Pete Thamel, SU alum and The New York Times college football writer, seated in the front row of the gather media. (Check out Thamel’s take on the Dome atmosphere)

Photo: Andrew Burton

So what? Syracuse has bragging rights over not just the Big East, and the rest of the nation. Why would they listen to the coach? What about the other times no one listened to Boeheim:

On Media Day this past October, he said Wes Johnson was the best player on his team, last year. Now Johnson is on everyone’s Player of the Year list.

In 2006, when local media called Gerry McNamara ‘overrated.’ (WARNING: link contains foul language)

The LeMoyne exhibition loss in November. Boeheim: “I’m not concerned about anything except this team (and) getting this team ready. Period. That’s it. Nothing else.”

When this blog called for Scoop Jardine to start over freshman Brendan Triche.

Stick with Coach Boeheim, fans. He’s been here for almost 34 years, won a national championship, and the court does have his name on it.

“I love it when people are excited about our team, it’s a great thing. I like it when they’re talking about it,” Boeheim said after the Villanova game Saturday night. Whatever they want to talk about, most of it doesn’t make too much sense usually, but it’s good. It’s kind like what Pete (Thamel) writes some of the times; it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but I’m sure it does to him.”

Take the faith a step further, and support a trio of ideas Boeheim has in the queue right now: expand the NCAA Tournament from 64 teams to a 96-team field, resist the urge to turn the Dome into a 50,000-seat basketball stadium, and support the children.

All winning ideas.

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