When we last checked in on the Syracuse Orange's NCAA Tournament odds, they were sitting at a precarious 40 percent, following an agonizing loss to Pittsburgh. After beating NC State yesterday, that percentage has now gone up (slightly) to 43 percent, according to TeamRankings.com. The site also says that was a six percent increase from the start of the day on Friday. The Orange's chances had actually dipped to 37 percent during their week of inactivity.
A lot will now hinge on the next two games, both in terms of the team's ACC Tournament seeding and NCAA Tournament possibilities. Syracuse has an 11.5-percent chance to beat North Carolina down in Chapel Hill, N.C. on Monday. Odds to beat Florida State in the season finale have dipped a little (from 37.8 percent to 36.3) following the Seminoles' big upset over Notre Dame yesterday. The Orange's 19.5-11.5 projected record still gives some hope for the team to get to 20 on the regular season, though it's still a very difficult road. Syracuse's NCAA Tournament likelihood goes all the way up to 90 percent if they can find a way to 22 wins before Selection Sunday.
A lot of that will hinge on the games outlined above and the ACC Tournament seeding they receive. Right now, the team's sitting at 9-7, in a tie for the sixth seed down in Washington D.C., but they lose that tiebreaker to Clemson. TeamRankings has SU projected to finish eighth at the moment, something that becomes more likely with two losses to close the year, along with the tiebreaker losses to both Clemson and Pitt. If Syracuse can manage a win in the final two, a 10-8 record goes a long way toward helping them jump to sixth or seventh, and get an easier first matchup in the ACC Tournament. Pitt closes the season with games against Duke (home), Georgia Tech (road) and Virginia Tech (road). Clemson faces Virginia at home and Boston College on the road.
Oddly, despite the slightly dire outlook above, there are some positives to take from it all. Syracuse has a one-percent chance to win the ACC Tournament ("yay?") and if they do make the NCAAs, they're actually projected as an 8-seed. TeamRankings says they have a seven-percent chance to make the Sweet 16 (understandable since they're facing a 1-seed in that scenario), and a one-percent chance to reach the Final Four.
If Syracuse pulls off an unlikely upset tomorrow, all of this will trend up a whole lot more. So... let's go ahead and do that, please?