The way Jim Boeheim stopped the reporter mid-question on Saturday, it was easy to tell he saw this one coming a mile away.Well, Jim (No. 1) Kansas and (No. 2) Kentucky lost today …‘Yeah,’ Syracuse’s head coach interrupted. ‘I don’t care. It doesn’t matter at all in our game where you’re rated, it really doesn’t.’Of course, the point was to get Boeheim to talk about his first potential regular-season No. 1 ranking since 1990. An emphatic win over No. 7 Villanova Saturday, in addition to a colossal upheaval in the front end of the Top 25, left the Orange a prime candidate to fill the vacancy at the top. But he wasn’t biting. Just like most of his players in postgame interviews weren’t. You see, it’s common speak among coaches and athletes to say they don’t believe in rankings. It’s like saying you treat every practice like game day, or that you believe in your coach after a 1-12 season — it’s a filtered and ultimately fallacious statement.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut in Syracuse’s case, we should all be inclined to believe them. This Orange team has seen firsthand the deceptive façade the Top 25 can be. Before the season started, it was shut out of the Associated Press poll and was picked to finish sixth in a conference where it just clinched at least a share of the title.And now players are supposed to be excited about potentially reaching the apex of the one thing they’ve dismissed all season? No. They have the right to say, without question, that they don’t care about rankings. ‘We’re not concerned about anything except St. John’s,’ Boeheim said. ‘Whatever happens (regarding the rankings) happens and all the other stuff. This team has never thought for a minute this year whether we are ranked or not ranked or where our ranking is.’Let me make one thing clear: This is not a series of jabs against the writers who vote in the AP Top 25, or the coaches in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 — seven out of the last 10 NCAA national champions were, at one point, ranked No. 1 in those polls. Better than I could do.For Syracuse, this is more about taking what’s read and heard with a grain of salt, something that will be exponentially more difficult if they earn the No. 1 ranking, and, for how long they keep it.Here’s a preview: Following the Villanova game, at least four different reporters popped in front of Wes Johnson’s locker, shined the bright camera lights in his face and said definitively: Wes, are you guys the best team in the country?Diligently, he entertained every single person who asked.‘I’ll let everybody else decide that,’ Johnson said. ‘We’ll take it one game at a time. We had a good win tonight and we’ve got a good St. John’s team coming in. They’re playing well this year, so we need to prepare for them. But I think we’ll let everybody else decide that.’And this will go on for the days, or weeks, Syracuse keeps the ranking. People will ask the Orange if it feels it has a target on its back. Whether or not the pressure mounts each and every game now that it’s the top dog.With a loss, Syracuse’s weaknesses and failures will be magnified. Relinquishing the top spot will earn that dunce-cap NO.1 TEAM UPSET spot on SportsCenter’s daily rundown. It’s a Mack-sized shot to the Orange’s confidence the team won’t need, or deserve. But only if it buys into the hype, believes that these polls actually mean something.Instead, Syracuse players and fans need to listen to Boeheim. The rankings, in this case, really don’t matter. Getting too caught up in something so menial will only damage the team in the long run. Playing up to someone else’s standard damages team psyche during a time of year when it needs to be strongest. When people ask Syracuse players if they think they’re No. 1, they should all respond the way Rick Jackson did Saturday.‘I love these guys, I see these guys every day,’ Jackson said. ‘I think they’re all a great bunch of guys. I think we go out and play hard.’Pressed for more of an answer, he rolled his eyes and said of course he thinks he plays on the best team in the country, wouldn’t anyone?And as far as the polls go, don’t worry — these things have a way of working themselves out without stressing. Remember those three teams in the last 10 years that won the national championship and were never No. 1 in the Top 25?One was Maryland in 2002.Another was Florida in 2006.And then there was Syracuse, back in 2003. email@example.com Comments Published on March 8, 2010 at 12:00 pm Facebook Twitter Google+
READ | Dutee Chand thanks MEA S Jaishankar after visa gets approved for World Athletics ChampionshipsREAD | Dutee Chand elated after her selection in the Doha World Championship “We are proud to provide young Indian boys and girls under the Reliance Foundation Jr NBA program with the opportunity to experience the first-ever NBA game in India,” NBA deputy commissioner and chief operating officer, Mark Tatum said in a media release. COMMENT WE RECOMMEND The National Basketball Association on Thursday said 3,000 students from over 70 schools will be extended invitations for the first-ever NBA game in India to be played here next month. NBA sides Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers will play two pre-season games on October 4 and 5 in front of students under the Reliance Foundation Jr NBA program. The NBA India Games will mark the first games that teams from a North American sports league will play in India. READ | Steve Smith extends lead over Virat Kohli in ICC Test rankingsAs part of Reliance Foundation’s Education and Sports for All (ESA) initiative, the NBA will invite 3,000 boys and girls from more than 70 participating Reliance Foundation Jr NBA schools in Mumbai to attend the event. In addition to the games, the league and its partners will also host interactive fan activities, Jr NBA events, an NBA Academy India development camp for women and NBA Cares community outreach efforts benefiting fans of all ages across Mumbai. READ | Steve Smith underlines greatness with Old Trafford double century 11 months ago Gujarat reduces Motor Vehicles Act fines for first-time offenders Press Trust Of India Last Updated: 12th September, 2019 14:32 IST First Ever NBA Game In India To See 3000 Students Being Invited The National Basketball Association on Thursday said 3,000 students from over 70 schools will be extended invitations for the first-ever NBA game in India LIVE TV WATCH US LIVE Written By FOLLOW US 1 year ago Asus 6Z now available at extra Rs 3,000 exchange offer on Flipkart 11 months ago PM Modi to announce new pension schemes from Jharkhand on Thursday SUBSCRIBE TO US First Published: 12th September, 2019 14:20 IST 11 months ago Sardar Sarovar Dam overflows, 3000 people evacuated as a precaution 11 months ago CPI on Cow Phobia: BJP believes in ‘fascist & sectarian’ governance
There was, however, deliberate and decisive action. The Lakers had a plan, they executed it.• PHOTOS: Lakers reach agreement with Luke WaltonSince the death of Jerry Buss and departure of Phil Jackson, Lakers leaders have rarely appeared to be on the same page. The challenging split at the top between siblings Jim and Jeanie Buss has yielded awkward results, the latest example coming earlier this week when Jeanie Buss, the team’s president and top executive, revealed in a radio interview she did not know of plans to fire Byron Scott until after it was reported by the media.That sort of dysfunction is not cleaned up with a single personnel move.Acting quickly, however, signals confidence. What else have the Lakers done in recent years that instilled any confidence? Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Mitch Kupchak hopped on an airplane Thursday, flew to Oakland, and made perhaps the swiftest decision of his tenure.He hired Luke Walton to be the Lakers’ 26th head coach.It was as much of a search as is plucking the ripest apple from a tree. Walton, 36, was the obvious choice from the beginning, even as more experienced (Jeff Van Gundy) and outside-the-box (Ettore Messina) choices emerged as possible candidates.There wasn’t much of a smokescreen, but the Lakers haven’t set good screens for years. In three seasons they have won just 65 games.After years of worrying about Kobe Bryant first and the future later, the proverbial tail wagging the dog, the Lakers finally moved on.By hiring Walton, the organization manufactured some positive momentum after dilly-dallying with their decision on Scott, even though his methods clearly failed to resonate with a young wave of players.• RELATED: Luke Walton to become 26th coach in Lakers historyOne Laker described Scott’s relationship with the team last season as “oil and water, just didn’t mix.”D’Angelo Russell has said he wants to be the next Stephen Curry. Well, now he has his coach.While young, Walton has earned a reputation around the NBA as forward-thinking and relatable to players.Walton’s eight-plus seasons as a Laker and two championships also don’t hurt, but unlike with Scott, the Lakers will have much more than Walton’s organization ties to sell.They won’t need to round up former teammates to stand behind Walton at his introductory news conference to mask the bigger problems.Walton can be sold as a fixer, even if he has never taken on a task like this before.Walton’s 39-4 mark as the Warriors’ acting head coach in the first half of this season is as much a selling point as is the respect he commands in the Warriors young, but focused, locker room.“He’s not that old,” said Jack Murphy, the head coach at Northern Arizona who served as an assistant with Walton at the University of Memphis during the 2011 NBA lockout. “He still can connect with guys that are in the league, even rookies.”Naysayers like to question how much the mind-boggling start, including a 111-77 walloping of the Lakers on Nov. 24 to eclipse the 1993-94 Houston Rockets 15-0 mark, really had to do with Walton.How much coaching did he really have to do with a team that won the championship the season before and brought back the league MVP?After all, you can’t spell fluke without … well, you know.But there were signs throughout that Walton was putting his own stamp on the unbeatable Warriors, from using reverse psychology to motivate players – a classic Phil Jackson move – to bucking convention when it came to managing minutes.Walton will remain with the Warriors through what likely will be another championship run before transitioning to his job with the Lakers, giving fans more than a month to study Walton’s presence and demeanor, all the while anticipation building for his arrival.In October, Walton was still new at being a head coach. Steve Kerr’s leave of absence could end any day, and it was unclear whether Walton would coach even one regular season game, let along 43.Even then, he was starting to understand the job.“The responsibility is crazy,” Walton said on the night the Warriors met the Lakers in an exhibition game in San Diego. “If anything goes wrong, it’s on you.”His predecessors learned that the hard way.Luke Walton, the Lakers are now your problem to solve.