Well how about that? Just when Syracuse looks down and out, it beats a respectable team in Wake Forest, an absurdly athletic Florida State squad, comes from behind against NC State on the road and shocks Virginia after being down 12 at the half. Just like that Syracuse has worked itself back into the NCAA Tournament discussion despite the worst start in Jim Boeheim’s 41 year coaching tenure.
As of now, Jerry Palm of CBS has Syracuse as the last team in the tournament. Old habits die hard for every Syracuse fan’s favorite bracketologist Joe Lunardi. He’s sticking to his guns and has Syracuse as the eighth team out, but perhaps we should feel happy he’s included Syracuse to begin with.
SB Nation’s updated bracketology on Tuesday now has Syracuse in the “first four” vs. Tennessee.
Looking at Syracuse’s tournament resume, the Orange are currently ranked No. 47 on Ken Pom, arguably the most respected metric in college hoops. Sagarin ratings have Syracuse rated the highest at No. 37. The more antiquated RPI figure has Syracuse ranked No. 69 with a score of .5657.
Right now, Syracuse has wins over three legit top 50 teams in Florida State, Virginia and Wake Forest. Here’s the kicker: the Orange also have wins over Monmouth, Miami and Pittsburgh which are ranked No. 52, No. 53 and No. 55 in RPI, respectively. If those three can find a way to win some games, this would bode well for Syracuse who could have six wins over top 50 teams.
On the flip side, Syracuse has questionable-to-bad losses to St. John’s, Connecticut and Boston College. In retrospect, the Georgetown loss doesn’t seem so bad other than the fact that Syracuse lost to our old rival.
An arresting fact? Syracuse got into the tournament last year despite having an RPI of 68 which was the lowest RPI ranking to ever earn an at-large bid. Syracuse is currently one spot behind that as of today.
As we’ve learned, the selection committee has historically valued marquee wins. This Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET, we’ll get a better idea of what the committee’s criteria will be for earning an at-large bid as CBS will air the first ever in-season look at the NCAA Tournament bracket.
John highlighted why this is a silly idea, but the committee will announce the top 16 teams nonetheless. Although Syracuse certainly won’t be one of the top four seeds in any region, perhaps we can get a glimpse of the committee’s rationale to better understand the framework necessary for an at-large bid.
And if Syracuse can’t earn an at-large bid, an auto-bid will work just as well... right?