The Final Four is set, with the best four teams in the tounrament squaring off in another week. But with all the madness, I can't help but feel calm and disappointed. Why? No Johnny Flynn, no Devo, no Andy Rautins draining threes from the next county. No AO or Jackson plowing through defenders, and no Kristoff pouring his sweat onto the floor as he skids into the first row. No, this is not happiness or madness for this sports fan, but baseball IS right around the corner ...
But I'd like to take a moment to reflect on a rather successful year. The Orange bolted out to a 16-1 record (only loss to a VERY underrated Cleveland St. team) and joulted up the rankings. Sure they hit a rough patch, going 7-7 in the conference before realing off an imporbable 9 of 10 to finish the year, but in that 7-7 stretch, they played some 8 ranked teams, and only two losses all year were against unranked opponents (Clev. St and Providence).
I am upset about the Sweet 16 game, but hey, they were there right? And beside a crucial 8 or so minute stretch, they played right with OU, and I know the OU players had probably given up, but SU closed a 27 pt gap to 13, so in an essence outplaying OU for a considerable stretch. Oh by the way, their starting point gaurd Johnny Flynn was run over by Blake Griffin, looked to really have injured his back, and still played 38 minutes! During the final 10 game stretch, Flynn averaged over 41 minutes per game. In case you didn't know, regulation games are only 40 minutes long!
Okay, so now next year. Johnny Flynn has been my pick as the best PG in America, and he has shown it with his tenacity and game management, and his athleticism and ability to take over games and scoring and ... you get the point. If he decides for sure to return to SU next year, that means they should return all 5 starters and a decent bench outside of Kristoff Ongenaut, who for the record will be missed more then people realize now. He did not score alot, but that wasn't his role. He was a fighter, a spark, a force on every inch of the court. You'll be missed.
But let's not dwell. If the team came with expectation coming into this year, imagine the possibilities next year? This is a Big East tested, Sweet 16 team that has found itself and grown. Next year, the sky is the limit assuming all the pieces fit.
But in other news, let's go Mets!