Syracuse’s run came to an over the weekend in men’s college hoops. The Orange just didn’t have enough to stop the bigs inside for North Carolina. UNC was really never challenged in its 83-66 win Saturday night in Houston.
Which is a little surprising, honestly, as I thought the Orange would give the Heels a game. But while North Carolina couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with a bulldozer from three (Carolina shot 0-10 in the first half from distance), Syracuse once again just couldn’t score. Credit the Heels defense, but SU also missed a ton of bunnies near the hoop.
All of it makes the run to the Final Four all the more remarkable when you think about how poorly Syracse shot for the entire tournament. In fact, Syracuse hasn’t shot well as a team since probably mid-February. How this team got as far as it did will always be a question. But that probably speaks to the coaching of Jim Boeheim and the play of his team – those guys never quit.
The season is over now, but losing in the Final Four isn’t so bad. Especially when you never saw it coming and you still can’t figure out how it happened.
Now what? Well, you start looking ahead to next season, obviously. And the future is really bright for SU. First up, freshman Tyler Lydon said Saturday night that he is absolutely coming back to school. Malchi Richardson didn’t chose to answer whether he would be back, but I’m betting he’ll test the NBA waters and then come back. Add in recruits Tyus Battle and Matt Moyer and transfer Paschal Chukwu and I expect Syracuse to be a top-15 team coming November. It’s a ways off, but stay happy, Orange fans.
The team will certainly miss the senior play of Trevor Cooney, who went down swinging against the Heels, and Michael Gbinije -- who became a true Syracuse star. Those two are nothing but class and they were classic Orange men. But the program will move on and I’m betting another Final Four run could be in the offing as soon as 2017.