That was awesome. Fantastic. Tremendous, even.
It’s doubtful that I’ll have an opportunity to write much about the UNC game tomorrow, with a full day of visiting NYC on the agenda. So I will take this moment to just say a few things floating in my head about this major, major triumph.
- When this team gets after it on defense, it looks likely that they can shut down any team in the country.
- I loved how Arinze took charge on offense midway through the second half, as UNC was making their run to try to get back in the game. He demanded the ball and, once he got it, would not be denied. That’s a senior stepping up big.
- Fourteen steals. Wow.
- My favorite part of this game was how relentless the Orange were for long stretches. Obviously the first 8 minutes of the second half were pure domination, but don’t forget how strong they came out right at the opening tip. They were up 9 before you could say Onuaku. They had a lapse between the 12- and 8-minute marks of the second half and allowed UNC to trim the lead, but rather than panicking or getting flustered (as many SU teams would have done) they just put the hammer back down, and kept their boot firmly pressed on the Tarheels’ neck over the final 8 minutes. Outstanding.
- I wondered early in the season where the team would find its emotional core now that Flynn and Devo had moved on. It’s obvious to everyone now that Andy Rautins is that guy.
- The atmosphere at the Garden was like nothing I’ve witnessed outside of prime conference matchups. Even then, the crowd is usually heavily tilted towards the home team. This time it was almost an even split. We were on our feet for the entire first half and most of the second, as were everyone around us. The passion in that place was overwhelming, on both sides. This is why I love college basketball and why MSG is the greatest CBB venue in history.
- Let’s retire the “Overrated” chant, everyone. Please? You think you’re insulting the opponent but really what you are saying is “If we are beating you guys, you must be overrated because we suck.” It’s so much sweeter to realize that, yes, UNC is one of the top five or ten teams in the country, and we just handed them their asses on a platter.
- Entering the venue, there was almost no line at the basketball arena gates but a huge line for Cirque De Soleil playing at the Theater.
- After the game, walking out to the street, saw John Wallace, Derrick Coleman, and Billy Owens posing for a few photos with fans as they made their way to their cars or limos or whatever. Each of them had a huge grin on his face; they enjoyed this win as much as we all did. I was not quick enough to get my picture taken with any of them though.
I think we have a legitimate chance to jump up into the top ten after these two performances. We definitely should be sniffing it. If we are still trailing UNC in the polls on Monday I’m going to have to hurt someone.