Fear Factor: Ranking Syracuse's Nine Remaining Games By Cause For Concern

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse has nine games left on the schedule. Rather than wondering if they'll go undefeated, lets consider how afraid we should be of each one.

It feels like it's been forever since the Syracuse Orange basketball team have had more than a couple days rest in between games. It's probably only been a week or two but, given the way SU basketball games play out, your brain is a pile of mush and unable to retain anything beyond what just happened.

Either way, we've got a full workweek of rest ahead before the Orange have to take the court again when they host Clemson (is it me or does it feel like we really are playing a lot of games in the Dome this year?) (I know, I know…).

In uncharted territory at 22-0 and No. 1 in the nation, everything feels that much more heightened from here on out. Especially when you realize we actually don't have that many regular season games left. So I thought it might be a good time to look at what lies ahead in order to find out where our fear should be properly focused (other than everywhere).

No. 9: Wednesday, February 19 - Boston College Eagles (7:00 p.m., Carrier Dome, ESPN2)

Yes, the first meeting was closer than it had any right to be, but, that was on the road. This one's in the Dome and we're wearing old school/new school uniforms. Sure, there's no such thing as an easy conference game, but, this should be the easiest one on the docket.

Fear Factor: 15%

No. 8: Wednesday, March 5 - Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7:00 p.m., Carrier Dome, ESPN3/RSN)

At 12-10 (3-6), the Jackets don't pose too much of a threat on paper. They don't score very much but they can rebound well. They also don't get blown out all that much. However, in terms of games I'm going to sweat over, this ain't one of them.

Fear Factor: 20%

No. 7: Sunday, March 9 - Florida St. Seminoles (2:00 p.m., Domald J. Tucker Center, ESPN3/ACCN)

FSU seems to be able to handle decent teams but not really good teams. We're a really good team. I don't like taking any game for granted, especially road games, but this should be our "easiest" road game left.

Fear Factor: 30%

No. 6: Sunday, February 9 - Clemson Tigers (6:00 p.m., Carrier Dome, ESPNU)

Ah, the Clemson Tigers. Scott Shafer has laid the groundwork and Jim Boeheim has insulted the local cuisine but now we get to insult them on a basketball court. The Tigers have been a surprise this season, going 14-6 (5-3). They upset Duke but they've also looked terrible against other quality clubs. If the Orange can speed the game up, it's already over.

Fear Factor: 35%

No. 5: Saturday, February 15 - N.C. State Wolfpack (3:00 p.m., Carrier Dome, ESPN3/ACCN)

The Wolfpack have held their own this season, going 14-8 (4-5). Pretty solid shooters, which should concern you. Overall they're pretty decent across the board and they might be in the discussion for the NCAAs when the time comes, so a win over us would help them out greatly.

Fear Factor: 40%

No. 4: Monday, February 24 - Maryland Terrapins (7:00 p.m., Comcast Center, ESPN)

Where have you gone, Gary Williams? Maryland is firmly in the middle of the pack in the ACC before they head out to the middle of the pack in the Big Ten. They're not going to challenge us in the paint but they can score. Paging Trevor Cooney. The game will be sold out and the Terps will love the chance to go out with a win over the guys replacing them.

Fear Factor: 50%

No. 3: Saturday, March 1 - Virginia Cavaliers (4:00 p.m., JPJ Arena, ESPN or ESPN2)

I don't know about you but I've been hearing about Virginia for a while now. They were the trendy pick before the season, Notre Dame's Mike Brey dubbed them the best team in the conference (before losing to us) and you can bet Cavs fans are looking forward to hosting us and introducing us to the ACC officially. At 17-5 (8-1), they're a legit contender and the result here should be a big indicator for both teams.

Fear Factor: 70%

No. 2: Wednesday, February 12 - Pittsburgh Panthers (7:00 p.m., Peterson Events Center, ESPN or ESPN2)

The Pitt Panthers…in their home arena…after already playing us once…I don't like it. No, sir, I don't like it. They're 14-6 against us since 2001 for a reason.

Fear Factor: 80%

No. 1: Saturday, February 22 - Duke Blue Devils (6:00 p.m., Cameron Indoor Stadium, ESPN or ESPN2)

The 91-89 win certainly felt like round one of a three-round bout. If that's the case, you better believe that Duke will throw everything they've got at beating us this time around. Cameron Crazies will be out in full force (when aren't they?) and expectations will probably be in favor of the Devils. I'm hopeful, but, if there's any place we might be due...

Fear Factor: 90%

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