The Double-Bye: Does Syracuse Really Want It?

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 26: Scoop Jardine #11 of the Syracuse Orange takes a shot during a college basketball game against the Georgetown Hoyas on February 26, 2011 at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC The Orange 58-51. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

The Big East Tournament is a strange beast.

You want to win it...but maybe you don't. Every year fans want to see their team walk away with the trophy, but not at the expense of being healthy and rested for the NCAA Tournament.

Unless you're worried about qualifying for the NCAAs or need a lot of wins to improve your seeding, it's not paramount to be Big East champ. It's great. It's a nice bragging right. It's a great talking piece. But ultimately it's not your concern. The NCAAs are.

With their late-season surge, the Orange have worked their way back into the upper echelon of the conference. And thanks to girth of the conference and weird need to make sure DePaul gets to play, the set-up is just a little strange.

The top four teams will receive a double-bye and await the winners of the 2nd-round games. Syracuse fans know this setup all-too-well from last year when they sat idly by until Georgetown showed up and ended any chance of a tourney run in one fell swoop.

And that's a common occurrence. Last year, three of the four teams that received double-byes in this tournament lost their first game. And since they started doing the double-bye, those top four seeds are 7-6 in the tournament.

Card Chronicle throws down the stats gauntlet in discussing why they don't want Louisville to get a double-bye:

In a double-bye situation, the probability of UofL losing their one and only game is probably 45%.  If UofL only received a single bye, the probability that they win the first game is probably 75% (onto #2 below).

The flip side is that a double-bye would give Syracuse some much-needed time to rest and recover from those injuries, as well as get more practice-time:

"The great thing about this is because of the league’s schedule, we’ve got two weeks to play two games," Boeheim said after Monday’s game at Villanova. "I hope to be able to get our freshmen going. We need some practices. I think that will help us get these freshman guys going again.".

Of course the Orange won't NEED to win in the Big East Tournament if they make it to double-bye status, but it would be nice to see the Orange win at least one more game. And getting a single-bye makes that a lot easier.

And if the Orange receive the double-bye there's a much-better chance for them to play a quality opponent rather than a mid-range one in their first game, an RPI/SOS bonus.

At the end of the day, it's a nice problem to have. When it comes to the double-bye, it's better to think of it as an advantage for the time-off rather than for how much closer it puts you to winning the BET.

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