Going into yesterday's matchup with the Pittsburgh Panthers, the Syracuse Orange were looking pretty good in terms of their NCAA Tournament profile. Then, of course, they went ahead and lost to Pitt. That throws everything up in the air a little. Syracuse is far from "out" of the projected field of 68. But the odds of them finishing the season looking in on the NCAAs for the second straight season DID just go up a ton.
Recently, TeamRankings.com started putting together team profiles, including win probabilities, tournament odds and more. As alluded to above, Syracuse's profile definitely took a dip now that they're 18-10 on the year.
According to TeamRakings, Syracuse's odds to make the NCAAs actually went down by 22 percent following the loss. Chances were at 62 percent going in, but now sit at just 40 percent -- a perilous situation, clearly. But that's also based on the current profile. They have three more games to improve that. The site says SU has a 72.3 -percent to defeat NC State next week, but just an 11.5-percent shot to beat North Carolina. Florida State is still not a swing game, as 'Cuse still has just a 37.8-percent chance to beat the 'Noles. That projects the team's final record at 19.2-11.8, or 19-12 (9-9 in ACC play). Syracuse has a minuscule four-percent chance to win the remainder of its games. If SU can somehow get to 22 wins on the year (by way of the ACC Tournament), their at-large selection odds go up to 93 percent.
The Orange project out as an eight seed in the ACC bracket. The chances of receiving an automatic bid via winning the ACC Tournament are just two percent (something that shouldn't surprise you). TeamRankinsg says we're a no. 9-seed if we make the field, however. Interestingly, Syracuse has a 6-percent chance to make the Sweet 16, and a one-percent chance to make the Final Four.
What's been clear with this team for months is that they're talented but inconsistent. And in terms of their tournament profile, they've always had one mandate: just win the games in front of you and the rest works itself out. Syracuse has lost some focus on that of late, losing two straight to Louisville and Pitt. But if they can go 2-1 to close the year and win a game in the ACC Tournament, the troubles largely vanish.
SU gets a week off before facing NC State, which has struggled all year, but is also coming off an upset of Clemson. While the Wolfpack have only won four ACC contests this season, three of those have been surprise outcomes. Along with beating Clemson yesterday, State's also knocked off Pitt and Miami. So while it's nice to see Syracuse has a 72.3-percent chance to beat the Pack next Saturday, that also means they have a 27.7-percent chance to lose. If that happens... break out the official TNIAAM tire fire logo.