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What Will Be Gary Walters' Excuse This Year?

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Last season, the Syracuse basketball team was left out of the NCAA Tournament despite a 21-8 record and 10 wins in the Big East (You may remember all of this...). The reason? Strength of schedule.

This season, if the Orange find themselves on the bubble and Gary Walters wants to find a reason to keep them out, he's gonna have to find a new one.

With their out-of-conference schedule ending, the Orange find themselves with the #4 toughest schedule in the nation according to the RPI index. Need a second opinion? Sure, how bout CBS Sportsline who puts the Orange schedule as the #5 toughest in the nation. But who's counting?

You can thank Ohio State (9-3), Washington (9-4), UMass (10-2), Tulane (9-4), Virginia (10-2), Rhode Island (13-1), Siena (7-4), St. Joe's (7-4), Fordham (6-6), Colgate (7-5) and Cornell (6-4). In fact, the Orange have only faced two teams with losing records so far, East Tennessee State (6-7) and Northeastern (4-7). Beating Virginia on the road and Washington at a neutral location doesn't hurt either.

And of course, this is all before the Orange step on the court with nationally-ranked Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Villanova, Marquette and Louisville amongst the other Big East squads. The Big East is currently the #3 conference in terms of SOS.

Kinda makes you rethink the fact that the 10-3 Orange are unranked and receiving nary a vote, doesn't' it?