by Will Eimas-Dietrich and Ryan Collins
For the first time in history, both Syracuse University’s Men's and Women's Basketball teams made the Final Four. Both teams show that getting hot in the postseason can lead to great success. “They both (got) hot at the right time, and when you add in two great coaches, it will lead to success,” said social studies teacher Andrew Cottet. Senior Jhakeer Jamison, who thought both teams would go all the way, said that the success has come from “hard work and dedication.”
The 10th seeded men played in Houston against the No. 1 seeded North Carolina Tar Heels out of the East Region for the semi-final game. Unfortunately, the Tar Heels defeated the Orange 83-66. “It was kinda sad but UNC is the better team so it's not that bad,” said junior Julia Kelner about the final result. North Carolina will move on to the championship game to face Villanova, who crushed Oklahoma 95-51, on Tue. April 4. “The men are capable of beating all three teams but they are also capable of losing to all three teams,” said Mr. Cottet about the men’s team’s chances. This is the men’s third final four this century and if they won, it would have been their second National Championship.
The fourth-seeded women played in their first ever Final Four against the seventh-seeded Washington Huskies in Indianapolis. The ‘Cuse handled Washington easily resulting in a 80-59 win. Syracuse is making history with their first championship appearance in program history. “I think it's really great and they worked really hard this year,“ said junior Sophia Dimkopoulos. By winning this game they have to go up against Connecticut, who is the most dominant team in women’s college basketball. Connecticut, led by senior Breanna Stewart, a Cicero-North Syracuse graduate, is the favorite to win it all. “I think UConn is a really good team so I think UCONN will win,” said sophomore Kate Foraker.
The Huskies are looking for their 11th national championship under head coach Geno Auriemma. They are in the middle of a 73-game winning streak and have won 114 of their past 115 games. This would be Connecticut's fourth straight National Championship. Senior Rahmel Smith thinks this will be a difficult task; “I don’t think the girls can beat UConn.” Junior Ishan Gajra disagrees with this, saying that all Syracuse would have to do is “shut down Breanna Stewart.”
Last week after both teams reached the Final Four, the ESPN show “SportsCenter” called Syracuse “the center of college basketball.” This is a very large recognition to receive for the school, especially because the women’s program and their coach, Quentin Hillsman, have worked very hard to build up their program for the past 10 years. Social studies teacher Eric Ormond said “the consistency of the ‘Cuse men’s program throughout Boeheim's tenure cannot be compared to other teams.” All Syracuse needs is a successful women’s program and now it looks like they have that.
Many Syracuse fans hope that this success can lead to better recruits and more success in the off-season. The men’s program has been getting top recruits all throughout the Jim Boeheim era. But this new success for the women should lead to more premier recruits. Mr. Ormond says it will be a greater asset for the women’s program by making “Syracuse more appealing to a broader section of players.” Hopefully this success will continue for years to come.