NCAA Bracketology: How Close Is Syracuse To Locking Up A No. 1 Seed?

USA TODAY Sports

As Syracuse enters ACC play, the fate of a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament seems to be in its own hands, as long as, the Orange win the games they're suppose to.

The Syracuse Orange return to the hardwood Tuesday, as our Jim Boeheim-led squad visits the Virginia Tech Hokies at Cassell Coliseum (9 p.m. ET on the ACC Network).

The No. 2-ranked Orange are favored (by 12 points) to win and improve their record to 15-0, a mark that would keep them as one of a half dozen programs to remain unbeaten. A victory would also help SU maintain its No. 1-seeded status in the bracketology world (SB Nation, Joe Lunardi, Jerry Palm), which unanimously have the Orange being the top dog in the East Region.

If all goes according to the projections, Syracuse will play its second- and third-round NCAA games in Buffalo and aim for another Final Four appearance at Orange Nation's (the fans' not the team's) second home -- Madison Square Garden.

Of course, there's still a lot of basketball left to be played as the Orange are only one game into their ACC basketball schedule and looming is a Saturday showdown with visiting North Carolina, which has proved it can rise its level of play to beat anyone, home-and-homes with Duke and Pitt and road games at Maryland, Virginia and Florida State to end the season.

But, for a moment, lets disregard Syracuse actually physically playing games. I mean, that's what casual fans do right? We decided everything on paper after having a few adult beverages because, well, that's what we do for fun.

So, I'll ask the questions to start the discussion: If the Orange do what they should do the rest of the way -- I'll explain below what that actually means -- have they already clinched that No. 1 seed, which travels through Buffalo and to MSG?

First, lets assume a few things: 1) The Orange aren't going undefeated like our SB Nation friends Gobbler Country suggested; 2) SU is probably going to lose one of two games against Duke and Pitt because that's just how things work; 3) Syracuse may lose another game at home (UNC? Notre Dame? N.C. State?) and another on the road, as the last three of four games are in tough places to play.

That puts the Orange's overall record to 27-4 and its league record at 14-4 heading into postseason play. That's probably good enough to earn at least a share of the ACC regular-season crown, as last season Miami won it with a 15-3 record and this year's crop of teams are arguably not as good.

If SU advances all the way to the ACC Tournament Championship Game it would push its record to 30-5. A victory in the title game would cement that top NCAA seed, however, even if the Orange lose that game (to anyone other than Duke) their resume, which features a list of solid wins against NCAA Tournament teams -- Duke, Baylor, Pitt, Villanova, North Carolina, Cal, Notre Dame (probable) and Minnesota (probable) -- and no bad loses should be good enough for that key No. 1 seed.

Also, lets think about the other schools contending for No. 1 seeds. Arizona, if it gets it, would be slotted out West, so would Oregon or Colorado (if they continue to win and snag the Pac 12 crown); Ohio State, Michigan State or Wisconsin are probably going to either Memphis (South Regional) or Indianapolis (Midwest Regional). Meaning, only Duke would be the biggest NYC draw.

In my hypothetical, looking at it on paper conclusion (because that's what casual sports fans do), if Syracuse takes care of its business it should be pretty set when it comes to seeding time.

Of course, all this thinking just jinxed it all so the point is moot now.

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