As one SU fan perhaps wisely noted, Orange Nation is getting awfully riled that Doug Gottlieb intimated the Syracuse Orange may be the third best team in the county. Granted, many SU fans, and neutral arbitrators, feel that SU may in fact be the best team in the country, Kentucky just lost first. And granted, Doug was not incredibly clear that he was only bumping Syracuse from 2 to 3 with the University of North Carolina Tarheels taking our place. But maybe he has a point?
Let's look at the resumes!
Syracuse: 31-1 (18-1 in the Big East) North Carolina: 27-4 (14-2 in the ACC)
RPI: SU - 1 UNC - 3
Record vs. RPI Top 50: SU 8-1 UNC 6-4 Record vs RPI 51-100: SU 8-0 UNC 5-0
Syracuse has no bad losses. one loss at Notre Dame (currently a 6 seed according to Lunardi) without Fabricio Melo
UNC has one comparable loss against UNLV and one completely incomparable loss by 33 at Florida State. Two losses vs. Duke and at Kentucky are as close as losses get to being "good."
Here's how each team got there:
Syracuse is slightly more efficient on both offense and defense, slightly better FG% and EFG%, and slightly better FG% and EFG% defense. Syracuse handles the ball slightly better and forces many more turnovers, and Syracuse steals more balls and blocks more shots. Heck, Syracuse is even slight better from the line.
North Carolina has one BIG advantage on the boards. 72% of defensive rebounds is sick. 41% of offensive rebound chances is disgusting. They are also slightly better at getting to the line (and their opponents just plain don't) and shoot it slightly better from three.
My verdict: it's close, but come on, Doug. Scoreboard.