Syracuse should stick atop polls

Dion Waiters has been a driving force behind the success of Syracuse this season. Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

It's early in the season, but I feel confident in saying that Syracuse has had the most remarkable year, both good and bad, of any basketball program in the country.

Let's start with the bad. If you're reading this, not only are you well aware of the sexual abuse allegations leveled against former assistant head coach Bernie Fine, but you might even know of little else related to Syracuse basketball in 2011. The accusations, along with head coach Jim Boeheim's initial response to them, have at times made basketball an afterthought in upstate New York -- and rightly so.

While the investigation into these charges continues, however, the Orange play basketball. And after Indiana's dramatic 73-72 win over Kentucky on Saturday, Syracuse replaced the Wildcats atop the polls as the No. 1 team in the nation. Are the Orange a deserving No. 1? And can this group go further in March than Boeheim's 2009-10 team, which also was ranked No. 1 for part of the regular season? Good questions. Time for some answers.