Eight games into the season, the Hoyas have performed, although to some, enigmatically. I hear the same things. No dominant big man, but opponents don't dominate inside. "Live by the jump shot, die by the jump shot." Yet we thrive against Mizzou, and get by with two treys against Utah State (a legitimately good team). A so-called anemic Princeton offense, but 81 points a game. When talking to my fellow Big East friends, the criticism is incessant, but the flaws are harder to find. One thing I do notice is that when they do reach, they reach into next year. Into the age of the players. They say that with the talent we graduate last year, this is our only chance at a national championship (to be clear, predicting a national championship 8 games in would be DELUSIONAL).
Eight games in. Eight games into a season that many thought could be disastrous, and has been anything but. The elation has been bounded, however, by the thought of our repeated failures. See Dominion, Old; Curry, Stephen; Florida, South; Bassett, Aaron. For years following this team has been an experiment in the extremes. While I don't get the chance to make it to Hoya games a lot living in high school suburbia, going to the Snow Game turned into one of the best DC experiences of my life. Bouncing between that and the devastating losses, aided by a recruiting team that borders on inept and a fanbase that can't show the dedication to make it out to the (admittedly lacking) Verizon Center, being a Hoya fan has been a dynamic experience.
But this I'm not used to. No single aspect of our game seems tremendously improved to me, but for the consistency. The ability to go toe-to-toe with a top ten team LITERALLY down to the last second and then come back and beat a team that won their conference last year (a trap game that, while I'm sure I'm being repetitive in stating, the 2009-2010 Hoyas would lose every time)?
I force myself to question the team. To hold back in my praise, and be cautious in my optimism. Because I still resent Curry just a little bit, and if we continue to fall in heartbreakers at this rate, I'll be documenting breakfast, lunch and dinner (after-lunch snack optional). But then I see a highlight of Wright's shot, or his dunk against WVU. And I remember what this team could be, what it is. And I just have to keep it Casual. Because all of the failures, and all of the successes, it makes those 14 players a team, and us fans. Because I wouldn't sacrifice the Hoya fan experience for any other. I love it. Every time this team takes the court it's an adrenaline rush. And all the dominance we may show is accented with that little bit of doubt that has built up over the past few years, the nagging thought that we may lose to the AAU team that just happened to roll in that night.
It's like a surprise trust fall. Every time it goes wrong, it's a disaster, and somebody gets hurt. But every time it works, your trust is renewed, and you're ready to give it another go.
But that's enough of my rambling. As for a national championship.
I mean listen, we're sitting here talking about championships, not games, not games, not games, but we're talking about championships. Not the game that they go out there and die for and play every game like it's their last but we're talking about championships man. How silly is that?
Stay Casual, my friends.