I’m not breaking news when I say that, in general, we here at MSF aren’t particularly big fans of the two coastal programs that often sit atop the Big East – UCONN and Syracuse.
It’s not just the obscene overexposure and favor granted to these two programs by the biased shills at ESPN, it’s also the unabashed arrogance with which both programs go about their business that we tend to find, shall we say, off-putting.
Yesterday offered two quintessential examples of this arrogance.
First, Syracuse was taken to the wire by a feisty UNC-Asheville team. There were a number of calls during the game that observers found questionable, though I tend to agree with Jay Bilas’ stance on such calls, which is that they may have affected the game but they didn’t decide the game. I’ve seen enough Big Ten basketball to know that poor calls are just part of the college basketball experience. You have to win or loss in spite of such calls when they inevitably happen. So I’m not here to argue the merits of the officials’ decisions.
Rather, I’d just like to show you another reason why my respect level for Jim Boeheim continues to plummet by the year, despite the gaudy win totals he has compiled at Syracuse. Click here and watch the third video entitled “Boeheim: I think the better team won.”
When you watch the whole video, you’ll see that Boeheim starts out with the usual coachspeak platitudes about Asheville playing hard and playing well, blah blah blah. Coaches say such things so robotically as to make them almost totally devoid of genuine meaning. But he said them, and I’m not in Boeheim’s head, so he wasn’t totally dismissive of Asheville’s great effort.
But then he said this:
“I don’t think luck had anything to do with this game today,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said, “and I think the better team won.”
He then follows this statement up by citing a number of impressive stats the #1 seed Syracuse compiled against the 16th-seeded Bulldogs from the Big South, along the way insinuating that Syracuse maintained control throughout. There is nary a whiff of humility or credit given to Asheville for controlling much of the game and putting the heavily-favored ‘Cuse in a position where people could reasonably ask him if luck played a part in the win.
For the record, just like I try not to bitch too much about officiating, I’m also not big on chalking wins and losses up to luck, even though we all know rationally that in small sample sizes luck can have a big impact. Over time it all tends to even out though, so I try not to get too caught up in it.
So fine, Boeheim doesn’t want to chalk the win up to luck. And fine, he believes the better team won. Well, yeah! I hope so! Syracuse is the #1 seed that that has a huge basketball budget and spent much of the year ranked #1 in the country. UNC-Asheville is from a small conference and got an automatic bid plus one of the four worst seeds in the tournament. I agree that the better team won; but instead of spouting off stats compiled during a thoroughly underwhelming performance, why not take the chance to give real, effusive credit to the opposition? Why not shine some light on the little guy whose moment in the sun will be so fleeting, rather than defensively trying to convince everyone that our interpretation of the game we watched was wrong?
I tweeted out late last night that Jim Boeheim can be a real jackwagon sometimes. That’s an example of why.
While Boeheim’s postgame arrogance bordered on infuriating, even though I didn’t have a particular rooting interest in the game outside of my general desire to see upsets, UCONN’s brand of arrogance last night was just humorous.
In case you missed it, while Iowa State was running out the clock on a thorough beatdown of the defending champions, the Huskies stole the ball and attempted to land a breakaway dunk…for no reason at all. Jeremy Lamb, one of last year’s tournament heroes, decided it would be a good time to attempt the last-second windmill.
He clanked it.
I don’t know Jeremy Lamb. I don’t know the UCONN players. So I’m not making a value judgment on them as people. But I can say that from the UCONN basketball I’ve watched this year, they have appeared to me to be a team that has played lethargically and with an arrogant sense of entitlement that, frankly, doesn’t make it all that disappointing to see them lose.
And considering the lack of sportsmanship they showed here in the face of Iowa State’s show of good sportsmanship, I really didn’t mind seeing that dunk clang of the rim in a moment that will live as an infamous reminder of UCONN’s rather poor defense of its title.
In conclusion, I just want to say that this is not a Big East rant. I’m a big fan of Marquette and its humble, hard-working coach Buzz Williams. I appreciate what Mike Brey does at Notre Dame each year, winning more games than his talent level suggests. South Florida plays a rugged, hard hat-type style that may not be fun to watch but is commendable. No, this is simply a rant against two of the three most annoyingly overexposed and overhyped programs in college basketball (Duke being the other, of course), who are beloved by ESPN and thus shoved down our throats like college basketball cough medicine. So you’ll have to forgive me if I take a little bit of pleasure in their struggles, especially when they lose, or are taken to the brink of living in Tournament infamy, with the same arrogance they win with.
Good riddance UCONN, and *good luck* Syracuse and Coach Boeheim. Here’s hoping Frank Martin’s boys knock the smug right out of you.