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2016 NCAA Tournament: Syracuse Doesn't Need to Explain Itself, Just Win

The Orange made the NCAA Tournament to the surprise of many. That's fine. Now it's time to prove they belong.

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

I lost power on Sunday around 2:00 p.m. Pacific time and it didn't come back on until around 4:00 a.m. Monday morning. My phone died pretty quickly as well and since I didn't want to drive around in winds that could send a tree hurtling through my windshield at any moment, I stayed home and just figured I'd find out what happened with the NCAA Tournament in the morning.

So I didn't find out the Syracuse Orange made the 2016 Tourney until around 7:15 a.m. this morning. Quite the shock, I have to say. Not just that they made it but that they came in as a 10-seed. Not even an 11-seed or, worse, an 11-seed that has to play a play-in game.

I haven't really had a chance to dig into the reasoning and what Syracuse did to justify it's late-season swoon, but I'm also not complaining.

That's unlike many national folks and college basketball prognosticators, most of whom had the Orange on the outside looking in. In fact, during our last bracketology roundup, only Fox Sports' Stewart Mandel had the Orange holding steady as a 10-seed. SB Nation's Chris Dobbertean and CBS' Jerry Palm had SU as an 11-seed. ESPN's Loe Lunardi and USA Today's Shelby Mast both had the Orange out. The general consensus sided with those two.

So this is one of those situations that makes me think about expectations and predictions. Like when a team is picked to finish 9th in the nation in a preaseason poll but then finishes the year 5-7 and everyone calls them busts. Were they busts? Or was everyone just wrong? Is it the fault of the team for looking better than they were on paper? Or is it the fault of the experts for not being able to tell and just falling into herd mentality?

You know, college athletics can be a place where athlete's and team's fortunes are dictated by the whims of people who don't even play their sports. NCAA administrators determine their eligibility and enforce archaic rules. University officials use their efforts as ways to make money without distributing any back to them. Media people create expectations and rankings that determine a player's or team's worth before they've even stepped on the field. So few things are under the player's control, including whether or not their resume has been deemed good enough to make it to the postseason.

So I don't know if Syracuse "deserves" to be in the NCAA Tournament or not. But they're in and that's all Syracuse fans care about. If other people think they don't deserve it, well now the Orange get the chance to either prove or disprove their theory.