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Does Syracuse’s win over Florida State spell turnaround or staving off inevitable?

We’ve been here before, as you probably know.

NCAA Basketball: Florida State at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

On February 26, 2007, the Syracuse Orange beat 12th-ranked Georgetown 72-58 at the Carrier Dome. SU was starved for wins over ranked teams at the time, possessing just one over Marquette before taking down the Hoyas.

The students (self included) rushed the court, reveling in the fact that we beat our chief rival, and apparently locked up an NCAA Tournament berth in the process.

As you know, Syracuse did not make the NCAA Tournament that season.

In 2008, an injury-ravaged Orange squad was limping along the back end of the Big East schedule, then knocked off No. 8 Georgetown at the Dome (and we rushed the court again), followed by a resounding home upset over No. 21 Marquette to close the regular season.

That team didn’t make the NCAAs, either. Its early-season failures proving too much to overcome on the resume.

In 2009, beating a ranked Marquette team ended up being a harbinger of Big East Tournament success (and an tourney bid) to come. For the 2013 season, the switch didn’t flip until three straight wins over ranked teams in the Big East Tournament, which was then followed by a Final Four run.

Rakeem Christmas and the lost team of 2014-15 grabbed upsets over ranked Louisville and Notre Dame squads in the final month of that season, but it’s unlikely they could’ve made the NCAAs even if they’d been eligible.

Last year’s team sort of sparked its turnaround by beating No. 25 Notre Dame (the first of five straight wins), but then ended the year losing five of six. They not only made the Tournament, but another Final Four.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Midwest Regional-Virginia vs Syracuse David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The long, drawn-out point here is that while wins like the Orange’s big upset over No. 6 Florida State happen quite a bit, they don’t always yield the same outcomes for SU. Sometimes they’ve been the catalyst for a postseason run. Other times they’ve been a specter of what could’ve been.

This team has dug itself a hole that none of those previous teams had to find their way out of. But they’re still not done writing the story of this season, either. We spelled out as much last week. Syracuse could make the NCAA Tournament this year if a whole lot of things fall their way. One of those things was an upset over Florida State. Now they must check off the next box, a road win over anybody (but specifically, NC State this Wednesday).

Even if SU can miraculously find its way back to the NCAAs, the path promises to be anything but linear. Could they run the table? Sure, I mean, that’s something that is possible. Is it probable? Not at all.

Syracuse faces four more ranked opponents this year, and those will ultimately define where this season ends. Beat three of four (or somehow, four or four), and you’ve made it to March Madness. Win two, and you better hope you took care of business in most of the easier games. Win one (or none), and... better luck next year.

So regarding the question on what the Florida State win “means” for Syracuse this year, we’ll have to wait and see. As we’ve witnessed numerous times before, there’s no clear-cut way this plays out for the Orange. Maybe we’re just putting off the inevitable disappointment come March, and maybe we’re not. But at least SU appears ready to make it interesting down the stretch.