Syracuse basketball matters. In economically struggling central New York, the Orangemen attract crowds to the Carrier Dome that exceed 30,000 people. The connection between the team and community is not unlike that of college football teams in the south.

In fact, Syracuse basketball helped shape sports as we know it. Back in the early 1980s, a fledgling network named ESPN offered viewers a steady diet of college basketball games. Fans got hooked on these match-ups, like the Syracuse-Georgetown battles at the dome. Once college hoops helped ESPN build a financial foundation, the network, and the 24-hour consumption of sports, exploded.

Too often, however, Syracuse basketball lets you down. On the court, Syracuse has had teams stocked with NBA talent that have lost in the early rounds of March Madness. When the Orangemen made the national championship game in 1987, freshman Derrick Coleman missed a crucial free throw late, giving Indiana’s…

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