THE POP EXPOSE – Syracuse Celebrates 20th Anniversary of NCAA Men’s Basketball National Title!
Story By Mitchell Smith
Hello everyone, today I’m taking a look at the 2003 championship run by Syracuse University. Championships are not easy to get and many schools across the country have few or no championships at all. I didn’t grow up an SU fan. I grew up in northern New York near the Canadian border. We didn’t have any local college or professional teams anywhere near us. I got into college ball when the fab five was the big thing so Michigan was the first team I followed. It wasn’t till I moved to Syracuse in 1997 that a new love was blooming.
After 26 years in the Cuse I can safely say I bleed Orange. 2003 was before I had kids, and I remember watching their run in my basement on an old console tube TV. My wife thought I was crazy yelling and screaming and cheering on SU all by myself. SU entered as a 3 seed and would beat Manhattan and Oklahoma State to make the sweet sixteen. Then SU took down Auburn and number 1 seed Oklahoma to advance to the Final Four. In a nail bitter SU took down another number 1 seed Texas.
Carmelo Anthony had 33 points and Gerry McNamara nailed clutch free throws to seal the deal. Both were freshman. The final game came down to SU and Kansas. It was a dog fight to the end and the game very well could have been won by a defensive play by Hakim Warrick, who came out of nowhere and blocked a 3 point attempt by Kansas that would have tied the game. SU won their only national championship and it was one of my favorite years of watching college ball. The road wasn’t easy but SU finished an amazing season with a 30-5 overall record.