The Syracuse Orange had already dropped out of the AP Top 25 last week when they suffered their third loss of the season. And while a 1-1 stretch didn’t earn them a spot back in the polls, it does serve to underline the challenging schedule ahead.
The latest AP Poll, released today, shows eight past or future Orange opponents included. They are: Duke (no. 5), North Carolina (no. 7), Louisville (no. 11), Virginia (no. 13), Wisconsin (no. 14), South Carolina (no. 16), Notre Dame (no. 21) and Florida State (no. 23). So far, SU is 0-2 against those opponents — they’ve suffered losses to South Carolina and Wisconsin in non-conference play — while the rest are still out in front of them.
This underscores the difficult task ahead for Syracuse’s NCAA Tournament hopes. The Orange face those six ranked ACC teams a total of seven times (Louisville twice) in conference play, with many of those contests on the road as well. If SU had wins over Wisconsin and South Carolina under their belts, the resume still looks good if you go 2-5 vs. those league opponents. Now? You probably have to earn three or four wins against those ACC teams, and that’s assuming you don’t take on too many additional losses against the league’s gauntlet of a schedule.
Still, things are fine for now. As much as this shows a daunting road ahead, it’s also a clear opportunity for Syracuse to make its postseason case.