It's a scene you probably wouldn't have imagined.
Quentin Hillsman's team is the only Syracuse basketball team ranked in the Top 25. The men's team dropped out of the polls, after 96 consecutive weeks in the rankings. The women's basketball team, meanwhile, moved up one spot to No. 22 in the AP Poll, while maintaining its ranking at No. 22 in the Coaches' Poll.
And it's the first time the women have been ranked while the men have been unranked since Feb. 18, 2008.
The Orange is now just two spots off its highest ranking in program history, which came last season. This week, the team beat both Duquesne and Jacksonville on the road, improving its record to 3-0.
With a win on Thursday, the Orange could face No. 1/2 South Carolina in the championship of the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas. The Orange has never beaten the top ranked team in the AP Poll, but came close in 1996 when it shocked No. 2 UConn. That was the only AP top five win in program history. But to get that opportunity, Syracuse first has to get past East Carolina, who holds a 5-0 record.
"They've very good and they're very athletic," Hillsman said. "They're 5-0. They're forcing 30 turnovers a game so we have to take care of the ball. That's our goal in the game."
The Orange still don't have Brittney Sykes, who's coming back from knee surgery. Syracuse has turned to a balanced scoring attack, which includes four players in double figures. Hillsman said he "highly doubts" Sykes will play this week in the Bahamas, he told The Daily Orange's Josh Hyber.
(1/2) Quentin Hillsman on Brittney Sykes: She’s in our shooting drills and she’s getting up and down the floor. She’s back up on the rim.— Josh Hyber (@JoshHyber) November 24, 2014
(2/2) Quentin Hillsman on Brittney Sykes: "I think she’s getting closer."— Josh Hyber (@JoshHyber) November 24, 2014