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Anyone Remember Ohio University in 1998?

Syracuse: The University of Frustration.

In an apparent effor to mimic the travails of the Orange football outfit, Jim Boeheim's 31st incarnation of Orange basketball managed to dispatch lowly Bryant College -- a Division II institution -- by all of six points.

Employing a defense indicative of the sieve that is the football Orange's offensive line, Syracuse stammered its way to the finish last night. As Syracuse Post-Standard staff writer Mike Waters chronicles, "sloppy" may be a descriptive understatment when explaining Syracuse's opening performance:
The Syracuse Orange defended poorly, committed a whopping 24 turnovers, got out-rebounded by a team whose tallest starter was 6-foot-7 and didn't play all that well offensively, despite scoring 92 points.

Other than that, Syracuse's 92-86 exhibition game victory over Division II Bryant University on Wednesday night at the Carrier Dome went great.

"Nah, we're not happy with that," Syracuse senior Demetris Nichols said. "We started off the game sloppy and we finished sloppy. We were up 20 at one point and we let them back in the game. We've got to learn. If we're up, we've got to try to beat them by 30 or 40 points."

Syracuse sophomore Eric Devendorf, who led the Orange with 30 points, was more direct.

"I scored a lot but we're playing a Division II team and we beat them by (six)," Devendorf said.
In all fairness, Syracuse has been practicing together for all of a few weeks. However, given the amount of perceived talent dotting the Orange roster this season, a six-point victory over a rag-tag amalgamation of also-rans and GPA-boosters constitutes not only a disappointing and hollow victory, but also foundational pillars of concern.

Even Pittsburgh, a team that has been operating on the same schedule as Syracuse, managed to obliterate its opponent last night. And the Panthers, at least according to the league coaches in their pre-season poll, are not leaps and bounds stronger than the Orange.

Thankfully (or begrudgingly, depending on your personal interpretation of the game last night) Syracuse returns to the hardwood Sunday to take on former Orange Stevie Thompson's California State University-Los Angeles squad. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:00 PM. The game should functionally close shorty thereafter.

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