Dagostino's Best and Worst of 2003

If you've already read Mr. Cheng's take on this magical Syracuse season, take a look at mine now. Wes may have gotten some moments right, but we'll see how he stacks up against me.

1)Best game: You got the first one right. Without a doubt, the championship game against Kansas was the best game. The sheer fact that the Orangemen won the title clinches this category.

2)Worst game: The loss at Rutgers early in the year was the only loss against a bad team. It took that loss, though, for the team to learn how to win on the road. In the end, it probably was a good learning tool.

3)Most boring: It's tie between Syracuse vs. either Colgate, Cornell, UNC-Greensboro, Binghamton, Albany, or Canisius. All the cupcakes Syracuse plays early in the season at the Carrier Dome are merely warm-up games for the Big East schedule.

4)Most exciting: Syracuse vs. Pittsburgh in the Carrier Dome. A second half rally, two free throws and a tip-in by Jeremy McNeil down the stretch, and a half-court prayer that was answered for Brandin Knight, but a fraction of a second too late.

5)Best player quote: "Y'all keep chanting 'one more year.' I thought you stayed in college for four years." -Carmelo Anthony at the championship celebration in the Carrier Dome. A close second to Craig Forth for his quote the same night in response to the title game. "I guess I picked a good time to have a good game, huh?"

6)Best Boeheim quote: Oh, so many to choose from. I'll go with this one. He was being interviewed right after Syracuse won the championship. CBS flashed a picture on the screen on his wife, Juli, giving him a kiss after the game. As he saw the picture, Boeheim confidently responded, uttering, "Oh yeah."

7)Best dunk: Any Hakim Warrick dunk, especially his posterization of Royal Ivey in the Final Four contest against Texas.

8)Biggest surprise: Gerry McNamara. He went from probably not starting in the opener against Memphis, to starting every game this season after replacing the suspended Billy Edelin in that first game. McNamara's sweet stroke from three-point land got him national attention, especially after hitting six threes in the first half against Kansas. His grit and determination as a smaller guard were also things to marvel at.

9)Best chant: The Syracuse faithful's rendition of Kansas's chant of "Rock Chalk Jayhawk." I would tell you what the Orangemen's fans said, but this is for the kids.

10)Best comeback: Second round of the NCAA tournament against Oklahoma State. Down seventeen in the first half, the Orangemen put the clamps on the Cowboys's offense, and ended up winning by twelve. Without that comeback, The Orangemen are watching the championship game from their couches.

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