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Syracuse Misses The NCAA Tournament, Depending On Who You Talk To

Via Card Chronicle, I just found out about a mock NCAA Tournament selection that happened yesterday. Twenty sports writers (including the Post-Standard's Mike Waters) spent all day yesterday doing what the real NCAA Tournament selection committee does each year to decide who makes the tourney and who doesn't. The entire event was live-blogged by Josh Centor over at DoubleAZone and here's the highlights that concern us:
6:31 p.m. Syracuse is being debated. The point was raised that the Orange have won three in a row, two of them on the road. It was countered that Syracuse got smoked by West Virginia but that was followed by the fact that the Orange are the only team in the country not to play a team with an RPI above 200. Tennessee has played one team with an RPI above 200 and no other programs have played fewer than three teams with RPIs above 200. Another point of contention – how many wins does Syracuse have against the field? The answer – two. The Orange have beaten St. Joseph’s and Cornell, which won the Ivy League title.

This conversation will be particularly interesting during tomorrow’s mock exercise, pending the outcome of tonight’s game against Connecticut.


6:41 p.m. The next "rank eight" has been determined for the "at-large list." The teams are:


Of note is a conversation that recently transpired. In debating whether or not Maryland or Syracuse should make the list of eight, results against common opponents were shared.

Apparently it didn't go well.
9:29 p.m. At this point, we have 35 at-large teams and two open spots. The committee is sifting through the 30 teams remaining on the "consideration list" and will move eight to rank for the final at-large spots.

9:32 p.m. Here are the eight teams:

Arizona State
George Mason
North Carolina State
Ohio State
South Alabama

The top two will be in the tournament and a third could get in pending the SEC final result. The bottom five teams will not make the field.

And our fate was then sealed...

9:46 p.m. These three teams were just added to the at-large field:


Because Florida and Mississippi are both in the at-large field, the SEC tournament final won't force anyone out of the field and one final spot opens up. Ohio State will fill the final at-large spot.

The field of 65 has been finalized.

9:50 p.m. For fans of Arizona State, George Mason, North Carolina State, South Alabama and Syracuse – your bubble has burst. Just a note – tonight’s Syracuse loss to Connecticut was not factored into this field.

But fear not. That was merely Day 1. Day 2 was today and featured an entirely new slate of voters, including...Steve Lappas, Doug Gottlieb and Tom Brennan. FUCK!

Or maybe not...

11:23 a.m. ESPN's Mike Kelley just asked if margin of victory is ever considered in calculations. The answer is no, but good losses are factored in. As a Syracuse fan, here’s hoping good losses include those against Connecticut, Georgetown, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, etc.

This is a bit different from football, where margin of victory does factor into calculations for the Bowl Championship Series.

11:58 a.m. Pete Gillen is raising a lot of questions about Syracuse as he tries to grasp how the selection process works. He wants to know how the close losses to quality teams like Georgetown and Connecticut would be evaluated by the committee.
Suddenly, the Earth stops rotating on its axis...
12:50 p.m. Syracuse and West Virginia were the only two teams unanimously placed under consideration. Neither made yesterday’s bracket, so this is an interesting turn of events.
A Doug Gottlieb-influenced group unanimously considered Syracuse for consideration. Prepare thyself for the Rapture.
2:26 p.m. Steve Lappas just said he saw Syracuse play live on Saturday and he thinks the Orange are very good. Remember, Syracuse didn’t even make the field yesterday.
Is Lappas gunning for an assistant coaching job on Boeheim's staff or something?

At the time of this post, this committee was still deciding where to rank the Orange, who look to be getting a spot this time. Clearly if there's anything this exercise has taught us its how fragile the NCAA tournament spots are and how so much depends on the whims and notions of a random group of people. No wonder Jim Boeheim has no hair.

Check back in to see how things ended up.

Update #1

6:07 p.m. These eight teams are being considered for the at-large field. Four will be selected to give us 36:

Ohio State
Rhode Island
St. Joseph’s
West Virginia

Clark Kellogg is speaking for the Orange right now.He thinks they're a solid team and likes the strength-of-schedule. West Virginia was just pulled up on top of Syracuse. Of course, the Mountaineers won the head-to-head.

Since when were all these people such defenders of the Orange and where have they been all season?

Update 2 - Finally...SERENITY!

6:16 p.m. These three teams have gotten in to the field:

Ohio State
Rhode Island

Florida and Syracuse are in a tiebreak for the 36th spot. There will be at least two more at-large spots available.

6:17 p.m. Syracuse is now in the tournament. The Orange didn't make it in last night's bracket, but the close game against a solid UConn team may have helped, despite the loss.

Although it's a mock exercise, this fan was on the edge of his seat during that discussion.