Maybe it’s all the hype surrounding this season’s team, or perhaps it’s all the messiness and darkness that has pervaded the college sports landscape the last several months or some combination, but I don’t recall ever being more excited for college basketball to get underway than I am right now. As a society, we follow sports because it provides an escape from reality, but recently, a portion of the atmosphere in sports has become so heavy and uncomfortable that the respite it gives me is much more valuable now than it was, say, eight months ago.
But I’m overly excited for tip-off every year – it doesn’t take much to get me excited for SU matching up against a cupcake like Fordham, who has gone exactly 12-73 over the last three seasons. Ultimately, we may not glean much from the level of competition, but I am interested in seeing what the improved conditioning of a few players translates to. Fab Melo can get up and down the court now, but will he still commit dumb fouls and sulk on the bench? Will Scoop Jardine’s improved conditioning keep him on the floor for longer, or will his mistakes still get in the way? Tomorrow afternoon is the first chance for them to give their answers. I always look forward to the start of college basketball, but it still doesn’t hit me until the first sight of the real thing. For me, that’s what Saturday’s game is for – The start of five months of pure joy, even in the roller-coaster atmosphere that Syracuse hoops gives us.
On another note, Sometime before Saturday’s game, we’ll find out whether or not Trevor Cooney will be redshirted. If you read my post earlier this week discussing the distribution of playing time for guards, you probably noticed Cooney’s spot wayyyy down at the bottom. It’s not because I don’t think he’s a good player, but because the guard corps is as deep as I can ever remember it being and there just isn’t room for him. While it’s not a decision that will make or break Syracuse’s season, I was relieved to learn that the idea of redshirting Cooney was being considered. By redshirting, Cooney would essentially defer a season of his eligibility to the 2015-16 season, when his value would almost certainly be greater. I see the upside to getting him some playing time as a freshman this season, so he has a feel for what he’ll be going up against, but I think Cooney’s status as a budding freshman in a sea of backcourt depth calls very loudly for the use of a redshirt.