The list now reads: Mike Krzyzewski, Bob Knight, Jim Boeheim. Those are the coaches who've made it to 900 wins in Division I men's basketball. With three more victories, Boeheim will surpass Knight and continue his marathon alongside Coach K in what's truly one of the great things about college hoops: two legends of the game still getting it done and coaching teams to big seasons and high seeds in the NCAA tournament.
The game Monday night was like so many of the other Ws that Boeheim has collected in his 37-year career. It came at home in the Carrier Dome, in a non-conference victory against a small-league school. No. 900 finished in the form of Syracuse 72, Detroit 68. It was on its way to being a blowout, but Detroit surged in the final 10 minutes of the second half. A little drama before the party could begin.
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And so here we have a nice bookmark in the middle of the 2012-13 season. Last year we saw Krzyzewski tie and then pass his mentor. These in-season accomplishments are baked into the fabric of college basketball. The 68-year-old coach doesn't much care about them, at least publicly. That's what makes him Boeheim. It's what makes this mark kind of unique. He really doesn't put much stock in 900 wins, just the fact his most recent won came Monday night.
I remember back when Boeheim got to 800. I wrote about his legacy in the game and questioned if he was a top-10 coach. At the time, it seemed reasonable to debate. Now? It's of course a no-brainer. But in that link above, here's how I came up with the list:
1) John Wooden
2) Mike Krzyzewski
3) Bob Knight
4) Adolph Rupp
5) Phog Allen
6) Al McGuire
7) Dean Smith
8 ) Jim Boeheim
9) Jim Calhoun
10) Jim Phelan
Now? I'd have to put Calhoun ahead, given the three titles. McGuire probably needs to scoot down. But it's interesting and special that two of the all-time greats are still in the game. And we probably have one or two younger coaches (Bill Self, Brad Stevens, to name a couple) who will ultimately make this list or get really close to it.
Boeheim has beaten cancer, he's beaten the NCAA tournament field to a national championship, and he's now beaten 900 teams. Even if he won't boast about the accomplishment, I can for him. It's such a big number, how can you not be impressed? If you're only in a club of three, that's a club worthy of envy.
It's a hodge podge kind of night in college basketball. There were just a few other results worth looking back on, so let's just vary things up here from the normal Night Court format and cherry-pick the things that stood out.
-- Game of the night? UNLV beating out UTEP by two, at UTEP, on a night when that great Texas Western team of '66 was honored. The Miners had an open 3-point look from Konner Tucker at the end of the game, but it fell unfair for Tim Floyd's club. It was little-known Runnin' Rebel Jacques Streeter who gave UNLV its go-ahead basket with 27 ticks to go. UTEP's now 3-5, and what was once a chic upper-echelon C-USA pick is now looking like a sputtering year for that team.
-- The scene at UConn prior to its 84-50 win over winless Maryland-Eastern Shore. Go here to see the Sandy Hook Elementary School patch UConn will wear on its uniforms for the remainder of this season.
-- The final was 73-57 in favor of Baylor over USC Upstate, but most of the game was close. Too close. BYU, Gonzaga and Texas are Baylor's next three games. I wouldn't be shocked if it comes out of that run 1-2.
-- Missouri doubled up South Carolina State, 102-51. I love a good double-up. Let's you know a team isn't messing around against a patsy.
-- Colorado State is now 7-2, by the way. The Rams, who won 83-55 Monday night over a bad North Florida team, are being led by Larry Eustachy in his first year there after Tim Miles left for Nebraska. Sneaky-good team right now, and that whole Mountain West is turning into some sort of solid conference this season.
-- Valpo took a tough loss on the road to an uneven Oakland team, losing 70-68. Valpo's the Horizon's best team, but that league's destined to be one-bid again.
-- Another team doing well with a first-year coach? Southern Illinois under former Missouri State coach Barry Hinson. The 6-2 Salukis beat New Orleans 74-61 and are two wins away from matching last season's total.
-- Northwestern's already lost its best player for the year, and it almost showed in the standings Monday night when the Wildcats barely got by 4-7 Texas State at home, winning 74-68.
Let's wrap things up with a few stand-out tweets from the night, all related to Boeheim:
If you're talking unbreakable records in sports, how about Jim Boeheim's 50 straight years at Syracuse? No one will ever challenge that.— Chris Dortch (@cdortch) December 18, 2012
Rick Pitino on the Dome message board says nice things about Jim Boeheim ... and gets booed by the Dome crowd.— Syracuse Basketball (@PSBasketball) December 18, 2012
Coach Boeheim got his 800th win on 11/09/2009, the 2009-2010 season opener. Since then, Syracuse is 101-16.— WAER SPORTS (@WAERSPORTS) December 18, 2012