The reaction to the UConn-Syracuse game, naturally, differs radically
depending on which camp you are in. The Syracuse side tends to accept
it as vindication of a great season and a great team, and complain that Duke
has moved past them in the polls despite having lost two games. Tony Bland said
this: "Everyone's been saying we've played cupcake teams, and Duke jumped up two spots in the
polls. I think this is really a statement game. We beat the defending national champions and we're still undefeated. Sooner or later, they're going to open their eyes and start realizing the truth."
Camp UConn is understandably upset.Â The
sportswriters are calling it humiliating. UConn coach Jim Calhoun says "[w]e
just stopped playing defense" after the team got discouraged. The Lid
was shut down by Jason Hart, and Syracuse is a team with an attitude, angry they
aren't ranked higher. Jason Hart says people don't notice his fast hands.Â
Tony Bland says people take Duke more seriously. Etan Thomas says "we had a
lot to prove. It drives you to prove people are wrong." Preston Shumpert
says they wanted to prove they could play with anyone.Â Ryan Blackwell says
"we wanted to make a point that Syracuse is for real."
Point taken. Here's
the New York Times on the game, with their usual marvelous writing.
The more interesting question is what does UConn do with this loss? It
reminds us of that game last year where a Big East team - we forget which, but a reader tells us it was Syracuse then, too - just
beat them senseless.Â In the long run it didn't matter.Â But this
isn't last year; this is a younger team. It'll be interesting to see how they
recover, and how the rematch goes.