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Syracuse Basketball: Are Narrow Victories a Good or Bad Sign for the Orange?

SYRACUSE, NY - JANUARY 21:  Brandon Triche #20 of the Syracuse Orange puts the ball up to the basket against Jaquon Parker #44, Cheikh Mbodj #13 and Sean Kilpatrick #23 of the Cincinnati Bearcats during the game at the Carrier Dome on January 21, 2013 in Syracuse, New York.  (Photo by Nate Shron/Getty Images)
Nate Shron/Getty Images
Barry LeonardAnalyst IIIJanuary 30, 2013

The Syracuse Orange have had a streak of close games, with the most recent one ending in an overtime loss at Villanova. The Wildcats were victorious 75-71. The last three games for Syracuse have had a difference of just eight total points.

The Orange defeated Louisville 70-68 and Cincinnati 57-55.

Going back through the schedule, the Orange had other close games against opponents who should have been easy victories. A six-point win against Providence and a four-point win against Detroit proved that any game could be tough.

When talking about close games, especially wins, there are always two sides to it, as it could be looked at as a positive or a negative.

The close victories, while nerve-racking for fans, are actually a good sign for the Orange. Come tournament time, it's rare to see a blowout in the later rounds. Teams who go far in March need to be able to win the close matchups. Syracuse is gaining valuable experience by competing in games that make the players fight and play hard till the end.

The narrow victories that Syracuse has had this year also help to keep the team grounded. Double-digit wins night in and night out could lead to overconfidence and complacency. 

Another positive is that the close wins have not been a result of huge blown leads by Syracuse. At halftime against the Bearcats, the Orange were only up by four points. Against Louisville, the teams were tied at the half, and Syracuse went into halftime down six points at Villanova.

In those last three games, the Orange did not play well throughout. Despite the struggles, Syracuse was able to turn it around late in each game and make it close.

Of course, it's less stressful for everyone if Syracuse would win every game by double digits. However, that's not reality in college basketball, especially in a league as tough as the Big East.

The narrow wins that the Orange have managed this year, and even the narrow loss, are a good thing that will help the team get ready to make a long tournament run at the end of the season.

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