As is becoming an annual tradition, Syracuse is making the best of a questionable inclusion in the NCAA Tournament. After easily dismantling San Diego State in the opening round, the Orange surprised West Virginia, 75-72, yesterday to advance to yet another Sweet Sixteen. It's as if opposing coaches are somehow surprised to encounter a 2-3 zone as if it's a freakish stunt — like a dog playing basketball — and not something Boeheim has been doing since America celebrated its Bicentennial.
The long-time coach, who is never slow to critique others, was asked about criticism aimed his way postgame, and offered this chestnut of wisdom:
"I don't hear it because they're from people who are inconsequential ... All that stuff on the internet, not one sentence on the internet matters, not one. When my boss, the athletic director or the chancellor, says something to me, I listen to that. They have not.
"But as far as me worrying about what people out there who don’t support our program probably in any way, they probably don’t come to games or have season tickets, everybody’s entitled to their opinion, but I don’t listen to them. My father taught me a long time ago, you’ve got to do what you think is right, and that’s it. You don’t listen. And if you’re a coach at Syracuse for 45 years, everybody has an opinion about what we should do or shouldn’t do or that we should be better or not."
In all honestly, there's probably some sage advice in there. Boeheim has clearly figured out a way to not bend and wilt under pressure. And he's largely remained his own man, as evidenced by the way he chooses to take a path that may bother people who aren't named Jim Boeheim. But nothing on the internet mattering? That's a pretty bleak reality for a lot of people, most namely sports and pop culture bloggers who are apparently supporting families while leading a meaningless existence.
Methinks he may be going a bit too far. Why, without the internet we'd have no idea that Jim and Buddy Boeheim are related.
Without the internet, we wouldn't have a comprehensive list of the Syracuse coach's favorite places to eat on the road. Without the internet, we wouldn't know that in 2012 he sat out a team trip to Ripley's Believe It Or Not while at the London Olympics. Our lives would be much less rich.
Up next for Syracuse is Houston, which looks entirely beatable. There's a chance the program is back for another Final Four and Boeheim could capture a long-elusive second national championship. If so, that will be the experience of a lifetime for the school's current and past journalism students who very much don't matter.