The Syracuse Orange's seven losses at this point in the season are rarely-charted territory, as we discussed yesterday. But how many of those seven are actually "BAD" losses? Further complicating this matter, how much will any losses incurred under Mike Hopkins affect SU's tournament resume, since the committee has already said it will base much of its decision on how it performed with "its coach," Jim Boeheim?
Wisconsin 66, Syracuse 58
Playing at home, with a top-20 ranking, the Orange were made to look pretty bad by a middling Badgers squad. Coming in at 4-3, Wiscy was a far cry from last year's Final Four team (understandably), but still hit enough outside shots to beat Syracuse in primetime. Since this game, Wisconsin is just 4-6, including a loss to UW-Milwaukee. The other five, however? Marquette, Purdue, Indiana, Maryland and Northwestern. While the 9-9 record looks bad, there's not a ton to be ashamed of in those defeats. But between the pure number of losses and the two questionable ones to UW-Milwaukee and Western Illinois (season opener), their RPI of 99 certainly won't do Syracuse many favors either.
Verdict: Not bad
Georgetown 79, Syracuse 72
The Hoyas embarrassed (ugh) Syracuse for much of their Championship Saturday showdown, but the saving grace is that it was the first game without Boeheim. Following the win over SU, the then 4-3 Hoyas have gone 7-3, but without any real notable wins. Losses to Creighton (by 13) and UNC-Asheville (by six) won't reflect well, but there's no shame in losing to a team like Monmouth this year (which Georgetown did... by 15). This would be on the fence even without the Boeheim caveat. But with it, it assuredly won't hurt the Orange as things stand right now.
Verdict: Not bad
St. John's 84, Syracuse 72
St. John's and its team of international players looked like a force to be reckoned with while running Syracuse off the court at MSG back in December. Since then, however? Ugh. The Red Storm have lost eight consecutive games since then, and now possess a 7-11 record. Maybe you blame Big East play for part of that, but not for losses to Incarnate Word and NJIT. With an RPI of 181 right now, there's no way around this one for the committee, unfortunately.
Pittsburgh 72, Syracuse 61
And to think, if not for a late collapse, this could've been a marquee victory for SU. Pitt's lost just once all season (to Purdue), currently sits atop the ACC and has an RPI of 21. It was a road game for the Orange, and as long as Pitt continues playing well (likely), this one won't harm Syracuse a bit -- especially if they can get revenge against the Panthers later on at home.
Miami 64, Syracuse 51
Another late collapse caused a sure-fire resume road win to slip through the cracks for Syracuse. But still, Miami's 13-2 overall and ranked eighth in the country this week. Their RPI's 16 and they're typically regarded as one of the nation's top teams, even after losing to Virginia the other night. Thankfully we don't see the 'Canes again, but their impact on the Orange's resume can be seen as a positive after the one game just the same.
Clemson 74, Syracuse 73 (OT)
At the time (just a week or so ago), we thought this was a bad loss. And it still might be. But Clemson has also reeled off four straight victories now, including a stunning upset of Duke just last night. With wins over 'Cuse, Duke, FSU and Louisville in-conference, and just one ACC loss to North Carolina, the Tigers suddenly seem like a mid-tier contender in the conference. The losses to more middling teams like Alabama and Georgia aren't amazing, and the Minnesota loss is certainly a black eye. But if Clemson can keep up their recent pace, that 102 RPI is only bound to go up.
Verdict: Not bad (but trending up)
North Carolina 84, Syracuse 73
Another missed opportunity at a marquee win. But even in losing to the Tar Heels, Syracuse isn't really hurt by the loss. UNC's 15-2 and a top-five team. Yes, Boeheim coached this game, but again: the Heels are a high quality opponent that can only stand to help your resume. Wins are always preferred. But if you're going to lose, these are the games you want to lose.
So right now, that makes for just one truly BAD loss, three good losses and three "not bad" ones -- and one of those is on its way to moving up (Clemson).
Obviously Syracuse is not out of the woods at all, and an 11-7 start is still far from ideal. But if they can go and win a few of the difficult games coming up on the schedule, then all's fixed pretty quickly. The numbers are not so far gone (76 RPI, 52 SOS) that we're screwed yet. We just don't really have a major win outside of the Texas A&M game. That's what those five remaining games against ranked teams are for.
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