The Rundown

What is in a win?

For men’s basketball, a win is a great thing. It is a precious commodity in the Big East. Each win, no matter when or how it’s achieved, is valuable. It is one game set in stone that goes toward the team’s chances at postseason play.

No doubt each win is a great achievement.
However, it must be kept in context. A win is a win and that’s all. While it’s great for the standings, overreacting to one game is something all too common amongst the sports community.
After the St. John’s win against Syracuse, the questions began flying: is this the game that turns the season around? Is the Red Storm back in the Big East? Did the win go a long way in helping St. John’s reclaim Madison Square Garden?

As a sports journalist, I’m sicker than most of hearing boring, clich√© quotes from coaches and players, but in this case, they are the most honest and the least misleading.

No one win will spark the team for the rest of the season. Just take a look at the 2005-2006 men’s basketball team. They defeated two ranked teams in dramatic fashion and went on to miss the Big East Tournament anyway.

Real sports do not have a plot to follow. The plot is something added after the events have taken place. It is just an illusion. It would be nice if the momentum from an exciting win always led to a winning streak but it is just as likely that next time, the shots just won’t fall – no one’s fault, it is just the way the game goes.

If sports had a plot, the New York Yankees would have won the 2001 World Series after 9/11, the New Orleans Saints would be heading to the Super Bowl, and St. John’s would go on to win out the season.

Sure, incredible things do happen and great stories are made but they are made just as much by chance as by any other possible outcome.
Norm Roberts had a meeting before the Syracuse game in which he described his tone as “strong.” But he said it best: “It’s not about speeches,” he said. “Just get out there and play.”

Perhaps the speech had some tangible effect, but if Patterson’s shots were one inch off, it certainly would not have appeared that way.
There was a lot of “hope” in Roberts’ comments. He said that he “hopes” it refocuses the team and he “hopes” the game could act as a springboard. His comments reflect a compromise with the media and fans. He will not give certainty that it will happen but he also does not say that it cannot. It keeps the illusion alive for the fans.

The fans are not at fault here. There’s nothing wrong with being excited about a big victory. The student section stormed the court after the win. It might have been a little much after defeating a non-ranked team but it was certainly an exciting game and it broke a four-game losing streak. That’s not condemnable.

But what is condemnable is expecting too much from one win. It is a game in the standings and that is great. Just keep in mind, though, that that is all it is.