The Syracuse Orange and Pittsburgh Panthers are two basketball teams who refused to take care of business when the opportunity was presented to them. Now they have no choice, at least one of them has to win a basketball game and only one is allowed to self-destruct. It's a bummer.
The Orange and Panthers both lost on Saturday and that means they're the 8-seed and 9-seed in the ACC Tournament and will play one another at Noon on Wednesday, March 9. Despite both having 9-9 conference records, Pitt is the 8-seed due to their head-to-head wins. Not that it makes much difference other than uniform color.
The winner of that game will get the luxury of playing the 1-seed North Carolina Tar Heels on Thursday.
It probably goes without saying but the Orange have painted themselves into a bit of a corner. I honestly couldn't tell you where they stand with the NCAA Tournament right now but you can take guarantees off the table, that's for sure. A win over Pitt would get them to 20 wins, which helps, but still might not be enough. If they really want to cement their spot, they'll have to beat UNC on Thursday. No easy task.
Joe Lunardi says that while the Orange are still in the discussion, they're not doing themselves any favors.
"No, they are not [safe] and neither is Pitt," Lunardi said. "I think Syracuse if they were to lose, or Pitt for that matter, in an opening-round ACC Tournament game they're going to be in danger at least of a play-in game in the first four, if not missing the tournament entirely because of their inconsistencies down the stretch, particularly Pitt."
I'd like to say that if the Orange beat Pitt, they're probably in. Barely. But if we lose that game? I just don't see how the NCAA would let us in. How bout you?