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You've Never Cared So Much About Atlantic-10 Basketball In Your Life

So every time I resign myself to the fact that the Orange are going to the NIT, along comes a blog post or article saying "Hold on now...they're not dead yet" that sucks me back in. (By the way, check out the photo in that link...I imagine Jonny making a noise similar to the one Arnold made in Predator when he slathered himself in mud and called out for Predsy to come get him).

So, alright, yes, the Orange still have hope. Slim, hanging-by-a-thread, barely-clinging-to-life hope of making the NCAA Tournament. But a lot of things have to happen. I mean A LOT of things. Not only do the Orange have to kick into a drive they haven't been in for over a month but they also have to count on many other teams to do the same notch-upkicking in their own final week and conference tournaments.

If Syracuse is good at anything, it's sucking you back in when you think you're out. You just know they're going to beat Seton Hall tomorrow night. And you just know that you're gonna start thinking we have a shot again. And then they're gonna beat Marquette and you're gonna know it for sure. And then...well...I'll just stop talking now.

Obviously, its not just about record at this point. It's also about RPI,
quality wins and all that other nonsense. So let's figure out exactly who we need to be rooting for down the stretch here and what we need to happen (not that all these things NEED to happen, but that would be nice):

1. Syracuse needs to win out the regular season. Duh. At Seton Hall and home against Marquette. The Seton Hall game would worry me more if I didn't know that place was gonna be packed with SU fans and the Pirates recently lost to St. John's. As for the Golden Eagles, they're likely out of contention for a BET first-round bye but I'm sure they want to secure that #5 seed. It's home, which helps, but that's no guarantee. I'm scared, Billy, I'm very scared.

2. Siena needs to win the MAAC. We beat them to open the season, and any conference winner on our schedule that we've defeated is a good thing. They're currently tied for 1st in the conference with Rider.

3. All those A-10 teams we played need to step it up. That means 17-10 St. Joe's (whom we beat), 19-9 UMass (whom we lost to) and 21-9 Rhode Island (whom we also lost to). An A-10 final consisting of two of those teams would suit us just fine. Sadly, #8 Xavier may have something to say about that.

4. Ohio State needs to make a run.
At 17-12 (8-8), they're in the same boat as us. We could help each other out by going deep into our respective conference tourneys.

5. Throw us a bone, Washington. If the Huskies (16-14) can steal a conference tourney game or two, it'd go a long way, especially considering we beat them.

6. Eastern Tenn St. needs to win the Atlantic Sun. Currently in 3rd with a 18-12 (11-5) record, it's not out of the question. Belmont is clearly the favorite though.

7. Colgate needs to win the Patriot. Also in 3rd place at 16-13 (7-7), its fathomable. American and Navy are the teams to beat.

8. Cornell needs to win the Ivy. Done. Congrats, Big Red.

The rest of our non-conference schedule is very unlikely to do anything in the post-season so at this point, it's up to the Big East.

9. SU needs to win its first-round and second-round BET games.
Natch. That should do it (assuming they won out the regular season), everything else will be gravy.

10. We need to play the best team possible in the 2nd round.
If Syracuse is going to want to secure their spot as much as possible they'll need to get one more quality win in the BET in the books. If they win in the first round they may just get the loser of this weekend's Georgetown-Louisville game and that would be exactly who we need.

11. Pray to God that the NCAA Committee has a long memory and a short memory but not a middling memory.
That last sentence makes no sense, I know, but basically I'm saying that if SU does what it has to do then let's hope the committee remember last year's screwjob and feels bad while also recognizing how SU played when it truly mattered most and weighing that over the way they played in the month leading up to it.

That all doesn't sound too hard now does it?

(AP Photo)