Cuse Country

Home Away From Dome for Syracuse Orange Fans


Posted by Josh on November 21, 2006

When the basketball schedule came out, I was incredibly excited to see that there would be a game on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I’ve been spending Thanksgiving in Syracuse for several years now, and I am always pumped when there is a game at the Dome during my visit. (Although it was cool going to Preseason NIT games at MSG when the family would gather in NYC in the old days.) The opponent: Charlotte, formerly known as UNC-Charlotte. “Hmm,” I thought to myself when I saw the game on the schedule. “Not even sure what conference they are in. Even though SU has lost their leading scorer from last season, they return some skilled role players who are ready to step up, plus some talented freshmen. It should be one of those typical early-season games where they play a little sloppy but ultimately overpower the visitors, have some fun and win going away. Maybe the walk-ons will get in the game. I better make sure I don’t miss it. It will mean I have to get the hell out of DC as early as possible on Wednesday (once I am done with my school-based responsibilities) and hit the road before the traffic is too wretched, so I have a chance to get to Cusetown in time to stop home, give a quick hug to the parents, and make it to the Dome in time for tipoff.”

Which is exactly what I did.

On November 26, 2003.

Those of you who were there will recall the sluggish Orange defense getting lit up by a miniature sharpshooter by the name of Plavich, then staging a furious rally behind Gerry’s 34 points only to ultimately lose in the first game of their National Championship defense. (box score) I still have hanging on my wall the free 2003 National Champions poster they passed out at the game, but that was pretty much the only good thing about that night. The final result put a damper on the rest of the weekend. We pretended to take solace in the fact that they’d lost their season opener the previous year as well, but in our hearts we knew that the honeymoon was over. SU has changed nicknames since then, and Charlotte has changed conferences (now they are in the A-10), but this should be another solid early-season test for Syracuse, and if they falter again, it will once more ruin my weekend.

The major difference between then and now, besides the fact that (due to some immense oversight) SU is not the defending champions, is that this year the team has 4 games under their belts, games in which they learned something about their ability, personality, and identity as a team. The adjustment to Life After Gerry is already in progress, and the players have some idea of their new roles. They’ve also tasted a bit of adversity. So they should be better prepared as a team to face the 49ers than the 2003 team was.

A few historical notes about the 2003 game: it was the only time in his 3 seasons that Edelin was around for the season opener. Plavich’s 10 3-pointers were a Dome record. Also it was the Syracuse debut of a few fellows named Roberts, Nichols, and Watkins. Let’s hope those guys have long memories, or I might be writing another post like this one in 2009.

See you at the Dome, suckers!


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