Syracuse is banned from postseason play this spring -- this you know following the team's self-imposed punishment. And while we've all resigned ourselves to the fact that dealing with it this year is better than next year (when we're likely to be a top-five squad), some recent events have begun to make us wonder "what if." In particular, things within the past week:
"Really convenient postseason ban by those cheaters at Syracuse" /Orange score second top-12 upset in a week "Oh?" pic.twitter.com/2fqvLxZkLl— John Cassillo (@JohnCassillo) February 25, 2015
Of course that doesn't mean the Orange are suddenly a one-seed. Far from it. But after wins over Notre Dame and Louisville, I'd say they'd suddenly be right back in the bubble conversation. Where, exactly, though?
Looking for teams with similar resumes in the current projected field (various sites), we find a few reasonable comparisons. First, for your reference, here's what Syracuse's profile would look like as a tourney hopeful:
W-L: 18-10 (9-6)
Wins over RPI Top 50: Two (Notre Dame, Louisville)
Wins over RPI Top 100: Four (Notre Dame, Louisville, Iowa, Louisiana Tech)
Losses outside of RPI Top 100: Zero
Road W-L: 4-5
- LSU (10-seed/10-seed/8-seed)
- Purdue (11-seed/11-seed/9-seed)
- Colorado State (10-seed/10-seed/First Four Out)
- Illinois (11-seed/11-seed/First Four Out)
- Stanford (11-seed/First Four Out/12-seed)
- UCLA (Next Four Out/12-seed/12-seed)
- Miami (First Four Out/Next Four Out/First Four Out)
Those are some pretty good teams! And depending on who you ask, we probably possess a better resume on paper than all but two (LSU and Purdue -- but even that second one's fairly close). Even more importantly, Syracuse's strength of schedule gets dinged without those final three games against Duke (No. 4 in RPI), Virginia (No. 2 in RPI) and NC State No. 38 in RPI). Three top-40 games! Win them, and Syracuse's raw W-L and quality W-L numbers go up immensely. Lose, and while RPI may take a slight hit, that SOS is going to take a few leaps up from that 72 number.
All of this is a bit pointless, sure. But more than anything, it just hammers the point home that this team is FAR from a lame duck, even without the postseason ahead. No, they're not up to the level of recent Syracuse squads. But given their improvement -- and ability to produce upsets -- as the season's worn on, you couldn't really count them out come March, could you?