The question was posed to me a dozen years ago on my first day at a new job. I was living in Atlanta at the time and had just become associate editor at Automotive & Transportation Interiors magazine. (Yes Virginia, there is a publication for every niche industry.)
Anyway, once my interrogator realized I had no idea how to answer, he clarified: What’s your college team?
As it turns out, my college team is the Syracuse Orangemen. Both parents attended SU — Mom for undergraduate, Dad for law school — which means I was indoctrinated at a fairly young age. Plus my own college didn’t field big-time sports squads (sorry, Division III doesn’t cut it).
So I learned to love the Orange — football, basketball, lacrosse, swimming, rowing, etc.
And if you know anything about the school’s hoops history, I accept your pity. True, we did enjoy a magical 2002-03 season that brought us an NCAA title. But for my money, that came on the shoulders of one young man: Carmelo Anthony, who today is one of the NBA’s elites.
Now take out that single campaign, and it’s been a pretty tortured existence. The team is loaded with talent year after year, but never quite brings it together. Great promise usually ends in underachievement.
Recent history tells the tale: In two of the last four seasons, the Orange didn’t even make the NCAA tournament’s field of 65.
So what gives? Is it lack of chemistry? Or poor preparation? Or questionable in-game coaching?
Maybe it’s just too darn cold up there.
Either way, like a glutton for punishment I continue to cheer on the ’Cuse. We have a decent team this year — ranked somewhere around 17 in the latest polls. But honestly, I just don’t know if we’re gonna make much noise.
Nonetheless here we stand, little more than a month away from that glorious fortnight-and-a-half called March Madness, when the basketball world crowns a national champion.
Which means I gotta ask: What’s your affiliation?