Already a heck of a story, Syracuse’s arc could become stuff of legends

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Both on and off the court, Syracuse University’s 2011-2012 basketball season has been overwhelming.

From the firing of a long-time assistant head coach due to child molestation allegations, to possible mishandling of players testing positive for drugs, the off court stuff has paved a tumultuous road for this current roster. They’ve been implicated of nothing wrong but must shoulder the burden of playing – and winning – through adversity.

But despite all this perceived drama, everything involving the Orange that takes place within the boundaries of a basketball court have been smooth sailing.

Coaches and players have remained steadfast that any off-court issues have not been a distraction, and this group of kids have acted like grown men in being very business like in their approach, their quest for a National Championship.

Dealing with blood-boiling Big East basketball has probably felt like a cool reprieve for head coach Jim Boeheim, as balancing a successful basketball team with family and a lawsuit must feel like the well of canned answers has run dry.

Yes, that’s right, we often forget that Boeheim has spent the good part of the winter entrenched in a defamation lawsuit after his initial comments regarding Bernie Fine.

Alleged Fine abusees Bobby Davis and Michael Lang are accusing Boeheim of slander for his media statement back in November, when  Boeheim explicitly stated he thought the two were simply out for money, and what they brought forth to the public and authorities were baseless.

Currently, the case is scheduled to be held in Syracuse after a State Supreme Court Justice threw out a request from Davis and Lang asking the case be heard in New York City. They believe there’s no such thing as a fair trial involving Jim Boeheim in Onondoaga County, NY.

Not matter the front Boeheim puts on, this season has to have worn on him, which is unfortunate given the success his 31-2 team has achieved to date. At age 67, it’s been speculated that this is his final season as a college basketball head coach.

As the one-seed in the East Region, Syracuse’s path to New Orleans keeps them relatively close to home. Opening round games in Pittsburgh and the regionals in Boston means Orange fans are likely to be well represented in these two cities over the next few weeks.

Based on what has occurred with this program throughout the season, a legitimate opportunity presents itself for this Orange to win some serious hardware and claim the distinction as the most memorable and legendary in the history of this storied program.

If Syracuse cuts down the nets in New Orleans, I can see the Championship DVD title now:

“Adversity Accepted”

An ensemble

Follow Nick Fasulo on Twitter @billyedelinSBN

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.