We're all a little cautious/anxious about the Syracuse Orange's current NCAA Tournament situation. They look to be in "good" shape, but the line between that and the bubble is pretty slim. Most of us think a win against Florida State is a must. Ends up SU fans and the team are far from the only folks who think that.
Brent Axe had bracketologist Joe Lunardi on ESPN Radio Syracuse to assess the Orange's chances right now, and -- he painted the picture none of us want to think about right now:
"...I think they are still a tournament team, but I don't think they are a comfortable tournament team and I wouldn't want to go into the ACC Tournament at 9-9, .500 in the league, and needing to make another impression on the committee."
He expanded upon that a little, along with the constant talk of the NCAA Tournament committee taking Jim Boeheim's suspension into account (Lunardi calls it a "modest" consideration). And with that extra bit of color, the wheels wouldn't appear to fall off with a loss against the 'Noles -- especially given the possibility that conference tournament upsets could further shake the bubble. As he says for the FSU game: "...This (Florida State) wouldn't be an awful loss but a win would certainly take a lot of pressure off."
And that's held true for weeks, really. Last week checked in on Syracuse's odds and probabilities for remaining wins, this was still the contest everything hinged on. TeamRankings.com said then that 22 wins gave Syracuse a 90-pecent chance, though that figure has dipped to 87.8 percent. If the Orange finish with 19 wins on the year, their hopes are slim at just 4.1 percent. Getting to 20 victories gives them a 25.4-percent shot. If they make it to 21 -- a modest, but very attainable goal -- SU's chances stand at 67.4 percent.
Lunardi didn't necessarily share anything we didn't know, but it's still a more affirming (or worrisome) bit of information to hear from someone more plugged into the committee's thought process. Granted, he's been wrong before, but it's still a better gauge than blind conjecture on how the committee -- human beings, with flaws, after all -- will be watching Syracuse and how it closes the season.