OK, so Syracuse probably wasn't going to erase a double-digit deficit to Louisville with 1:19 remaining in the Big East championship at Madison Square Garden. Thinking his team had no shot at winning, Orange coach Jim Boeheim pulled his gassed starters.
Syracuse guards Jonny Flynn, Andy Rautins and Eric Devendorf all took a seat after Louisville's Earl Clark sank two free throws to make it a 12-point game. Now defeat was certain with Syracuse's best three-point shooters off the floor.
I was a little surprised Boeheim wave the white flag with that much time remaining. A lot can happen in 79 seconds. Who knows, Syracuse could have made some threes and Louisville could have missed some free throws.
Stranger things have happened in that very arena. One of the most improbable comebacks in NBA playoff history occurred in 1995 when Pacers guard Reggie Miller scored eight points in the final 16 seconds to beat the Knicks and shut up super fan Spike Lee. A few years ago, Tracy McGrady scored 13 points in the final 33 seconds of regulation as the Rockets beat San Antonio, 81-80. In March 1974, North Carolina trailed 86-78 with 17 seconds left and won the game in overtime.
Part of me understands why Boeheim conceded the outcome with more than a minute remaining. His players were physically and emotionally exhausted, coming off an overtime win the previous night over West Virginia after beating UConn in six overtimes Thursday night. Another part of me would have liked to see if Syracuse, a team with no quit, could have made it interesting in the final minute.