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ESPN goes to bat for Syracuse after Orange left out of NCAA Tournament

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No surprise that we have some defenders at the World Wide Leader.

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange were left out of the NCAA Tournament today, as you well know.

Call it “snubbed” if you must, but SU didn’t provide a clear reason why the committee should’ve included them vs. other teams. Those teams may not have either. However, what’s done is done.

That doesn’t mean ESPN is going to give up the hard sell on the Orange after the fact.

Frequent Syracuse defender Jay Bilas was aggravated by the omission due to the team’s marquee wins (Duke, Florida State, Virginia and more), and shared as much after the brackets came out. Of the “next four out” -- Syracuse, California, Illinois State, Iowa — the Oange were the only ones really getting buzz as a deserving inclusion.

Dick Vitale, another personality who typically supports SU, voiced similar opinions on the Bracketology show following the reveal.only

Joe Lunardi, who joked that him picking Syracuse was a “kiss of death” before the selection show, also went to bat for SU. We were the only team he didn’t get right in his final bracketology released on Sunday.

ESPN also yielded the floor to Orange coach Jim Boeheim, who (unsurprisingly) had some issues with his team being left out.

Jim said exactly what you figured when questioning why Syracuse was left out while others were included:

  • Wake Forest’s head-to-head loss to Syracuse
  • Syracuse finishing ahead of the Deacons in the standings
  • Quality wins against Duke, Florida State, Virginia, Miami (and Wake)
  • Home wins being the case for all bubble teams
  • Changing standards year-to-year for the committee

He also admitted that the team wasn’t great this year, and didn’t get the job done in spots. He was puzzled by SU being left out, but he was willing to admit he understood how it happened.

Some Syracuse players were pretty upset after hearing the news, as Boeheim also shared with Vitale:

We told ourselves this could happen before it did, so this shouldn’t surprise anyone. But it doesn’t make it much easier to digest.

Syracuse is headed to the NIT. We’ll discover their opponent shortly.