A Closer Look at the Jim Boeheim Era
On many levels the Syracuse 83-79 loss to Temple on Saturday at Madison Square Garden was emblematic of the Jim Boeheim era.
Syracuse was ranked no. 3 and Temple was unranked and was beaten very badly by Duke. Syracuse, per usual, had barely journeyed outside of the Carrier Dome and had wins over Long Beach State, Eastern Michigan, Wagner, Colgate and Detroit. The Detroit win was no. 900 for Boeheim. It certainly showed his consistency. But when one looks beneath the record, there are some head scratching losses by teams with superior talent, some of which should have won a National Championship and the 900 has as its predicate many November and December wins against weak competition at the Carrier Dome.
Boeheim did win a championship in 2003 behind Carmelo Anthony, but with players like Rafael Addison, Sherman Douglas, Fab Melo, Louis Orr, Billy Owens and Etan Thomas probably should have won a couple more. Take the 1987 team led by Derrick Coleman among others. They were easily the best team in the country as maybe was the 2004 team which fell to Alabama in the NCAA's. The 1997 NIT team, coming off of a second place NCAA Tournament finish, and the 1998 NCAA team underachieved as well. The 2005 team looked to go deep in the NCAA's, but fell in the first round to of all teams Vermont. Take a look at 2008. This was a team which should have done some damage, but lost in the first round of the Big East Tournament and fell to UMass at home in the NIT.
Boeheim has adhered to a stingy 2-3 zone, but the zone has been exploited by hot shooting teams from the outside and Boeheim has not adjusted accordingly. Also, the defense has not been copied by other teams over the years, unlike say the Princeton offense which is run by over 130 D-1 teams.
Boeheim is deserving of his Hall of Fame induction in 2005, but is probably not deserving of mention with the greats like Jim Calhoun, Tom Izzo, Rick Pitino, Mike Krzyzewski and John Calipari.