In a state that features 13 professional sport franchises, New York is the sports capital of the world.
In addition to them, there has been some debate over who is New York’s college team. In recent years, New Yorkers could walk around the Big Apple and see a yellow cab with a top that said, “Syracuse University: New York’s College Team.”
St. John’s hasn’t beaten Syracuse since Jan. 21, 2007, and the rivalry has been pretty one sided, but for head coach Steve Lavin, while many like to call Syracuse ‘New York’s college team,’ he doesn’t.
“To me, our school is in New York. We’re in New York city so naturally what’s inherent in that is we are New York’s team. This is our zip code, our neighborhood. It’s our home court,” Lavin said. “But I don’t have any problem with Syracuse fans that think that they’re New York’s team in some way. They don’t have a campus here. They don’t have a home court here, we do.”
Others feel like the title will be based on the outcome of Sunday’s contest.
“I feel whoever wins the game, whoever plays the best can take that title,” junior forward Sir’Dominic Pointer said. “So far they’ve been New York’s team. They’ve been winning games, they’ve been proving to win. To take over New York it’s hard. We’ve got to win games and we can’t take over New York without winning games. Of course they got it right now, whoever wins this game will come out with it.”
Since the new millennium began, Syracuse has gone to the NCAA tournament 10 times. During those 10 trips, the Orange won a National Championship with two final fours and an elite eight to boot. The same success can’t be said about St. John’s, which has been to the tournament three times, (once during the Lavin era).
“Syracuse has a great program with strong tradition and heritage and I think St. John’s has a program that’s top-ten in the history of basketball if you look at the numbers,” Lavin said of this Sunday’s opponents. “[St. John’s has] struggled the last 12-15 years. The reality is Syracuse has been going to the tournament on a consistent basis during these last couple of decades and going to the final four and winning a national championship.”
So while the Big Apple has been transforming into the Big Orange, some St. John’s players (and retalitory Red Storm buses) feel that they, not the Orange, are New York’s team.
“I think so, junior guard D’Angelo Harrison said. “We’ll see so Sunday.”