The Loop

34, that's the number of points Syracuse basketball scored on Wednesday night

November 07, 2019

The 2019 college basketball season has only just begun, and yet somehow it's already over. Done. Dusted. Canceled. Pack up Krzyzewskiville. Send Dick Vitale out to pasture. Deliver us from whatever the hell this is, because it certainly isn't college basketball. We grew up with college basketball—run-and-gun drama that made NASCAR look slow. We know what it looks like, and this? Well, this ain't it, chief ...

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That's the FINAL score from defending national champion Virginia's season opener against CBB powerhouse-turned-haunted house Syracuse on Wednesday night. A whopping 82 points. Syracuse made a grand total of 13 field goals and scored 15 actual points in the second half. The Cavaliers turned it over 16 times. Everyone in the Carrier Dome was temporarily blinded. It wasn't a gas leak. That's just how bad the basketball, if you want to call it that, was.

In recent years, Virginia's Tony Bennett and Syracuse's Jim Boeheim have been accused of "ruining college basketball" with the 2-3 zone, a defensive system designed to suck every ounce of excitement out of a given arena like a giant soul Hoover. Wednesday night proved they absolutely have.

This isn't hard-nosed basketball. It's not old-school basketball. It's not tactical or cagey. It's trash. An unwatchable, worse-than-Thursday-Night-Football slog that'll turn coke heads into narcoleptics. And we're not talking about Montana versus Ball State. We're talking about one of the most storied programs in modern college basketball—the same one that gave us Carmelo Anthony, for christ's sake—and last year's reigning champs. And speaking of Melo, he graced the Orangemen with a pep talk before the game. First mistake, last mistake, as they say.

The headlines are going to be all about Syracuse today, and rightfully so. Again, THEY SCORED 34 POINTS. But this loss is on everybody. Everybody who didn't realize Zion wasn't papering over the cracks, but a yawning, inky chasm with no knowable bottom. Everybody who is too afraid to lob it up and throw it down—to tear it up and start over again. College basketball is officially dead, and the blood is on their hands.