We'll give Syracuse one thing. The Orange sure know how to make an entrance.
Jim Boeheim's club is off to a 23-0 start this season, earning the top spot in the national polls. There's been so much talk about the 'Cuse zone, you'd think it was a place rather than a defensive alignment.
Embedded in Syracuse's start, the best in school history, and one of the best ever for an ACC school, is a 10-0 record in conference competition.
This state of affairs presents something of a quandary for an ACC traditionalist still adjusting to the idea that Syracuse is in the league in the first place, let alone in first place in the league.
There's no getting around the fact a 23-0 start is impressive, as is an undefeated slate more than halfway through the ACC season. But we can't help but notice that, of the 10 conference contests won by Syracuse so far, six were played at the Carrier Dome.
Overall only five of Syracuse's 23 games have been on hostile courts. Its four ACC road games included visits to two of the league's weakest home venues - Boston College and Miami - as well as to the courts of weakling Virginia Tech and middling Wake Forest.
The toughest segment of the schedule lies just ahead. Of Syracuse's final eight games, five are on the road at Pittsburgh, Duke, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida State. Pittsburgh, Durham, and Tallahassee are particularly inhospitable places to play.
Survive those tests and the Orange should have enough juice to win at N.C. State, BC, and Georgia Tech too. That would take them to Greensboro, the city Boeheim badmouthed last year, as a favorite to become the first new member to step in and immediately win the ACC Tournament.
| CAN'T CATCH ME
Teams That Were Undefeated In ACC Regular-Season Play
|1987||14-0||North Carolina||34-2||Lost Final||Elite Eight|
|1984||14-0||North Carolina||28-3||Lost Semi||Sweet 16|
|1970||14-0||South Carolina||25-3||Lost Final||Not Included*|
|* Only ACC Tournament winner advanced to NCAAs until 1975.|
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