The 2021-22 season could go down as the worst ever for Syracuse basketball in the more than four decades that Jim Boeheim has served as head coach.
The Orange (9-11, 3-6) looked dreadful in an 11-point loss at Pittsburgh on Tuesday evening. The ‘Cuse absolutely could finish below .500 this season, which would represent the first such instance during the Boeheim era.
It’s sad. It’s disappointing. It’s frustrating. I bleed Orange and am a proud alum of Syracuse University, yet I currently possess all of these feelings and then some. The same can be said for the vast majority of the ‘Cuse fan base.
Understandably, given the team’s struggles in 2021-22, and its sub-par performances by and large since moving from the Big East Conference to the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2013-14, a sizable contingent of Syracuse basketball fans would like to see Boeheim retire so that a new head coach can arrive in Central New York.
I’m on the fence as to whether it’s time for a change at the top of Syracuse basketball.
Boeheim has the second-most victories in the history of Division I men’s basketball. He brought our beloved Orange a national title, multiple trips to the Final Four, and 20 journeys to the Big Dance’s Sweet 16.
It will be hard to imagine another person leading this program, but again, I totally respect my fellow fans who are ready for a change. Over the course of the current stanza, I’ve interacted with thousands of ‘Cuse fanatics on social media and in chat rooms.
The vast majority of them are angry and frustrated, to say the least. Some of them, unfortunately, feel the need to publicly trash the players, the coaches and the team in general.
From my perspective, it’s one thing to criticize the Orange’s performance on the court, but it’s a whole other ballgame to personally attack young men who are trying their best but obviously struggling to secure triumphs in 2021-22.
But after Syracuse basketball fell to Pittsburgh earlier this week, I read some comments from fans that concerned me. Without mentioning anyone specifically, some ‘Cuse fans were publicly wishing for the team to lose its games moving forward, and they also hoped that during future home contests, the Carrier Dome would have sparse crowds.
Some of these fans said that if the Dome was lacking in attendance, that could help spark changes in personnel, whether that be Boeheim, the athletics director, etc.
Again, I always respect my fellow fans. And maybe change is needed. But if you’re a passionate fan, why would you want the Orange to lose, or the Dome to be empty? I simply don’t support this kind of argument.
Even more importantly, whether we’re talking about Syracuse basketball, Orange football or other ‘Cuse sports, if potential recruits see this kind of commentary on social media, for example, I can’t imagine that would in any way help sway them toward choosing Syracuse.
Then again, my sense is that this kind of commentary probably occurs elsewhere across the country. It’s human nature for many people to harp on the negative when the team you love is losing.
Social media has changed everything. All of our feelings and opinions can be shared instantaneously, as well as publicly. And I’d never try to tell another Orange fan what to feel or what to think.
But wishing your team to suffer setbacks? That’s a sad comment to see.