After yesterday’s thrilling senior day victory over Georgia Tech, many thought Syracuse would be firmly “in” as it relates to earning an at-large bid in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. As it turns out, Syracuse isn’t out of the woods just yet. There’s work to be done.
As it stands today Syracuse has an RPI ranking of 76, a road win-loss record of 2-8 and three sub-100 RPI losses. All of those things are working against Syracuse right now.
On the flip side, Syracuse has three wins over top-15 RPI teams and six wins over the top 50. Its SOS is slightly better than its RPI at 59 but where SU really shines is in the advanced metrics. The committee won’t lean too heavily on Ken Pom, Sagarin, et al, until the 2018 NCAA Tournament at the earliest, but Syracuse is currently ranked 45 in Ken Pom and 36 in Sagarin. So where does SU stand right now according to the college basketball cognoscenti?
Unnamed ESPN resident bracketologist — who has logged numerous hours in the designated “bracket bunker” — has Syracuse among his last four byes. He has Syracuse as a No. 10 seed facing off against Creighton (Hi Kaleb Joseph). The winner of that game would likely get No. 2 seeded Kentucky. Unless, you know, Middle Tennessee.
This would be as ideal as it could get for SU at this point. Syracuse would get an at-large, avoid Dayton and also avoid the tricky No. 8 vs No. 9 seed matchup. The only way it gets any better is if Syracuse plays in Buffalo in the East Region.
Jerry Palm isn’t as kind to the Orange as some of the other bracket experts, listing Syracuse as the third team out of the field. What’s notable is that Wake Forest is among his last four teams invited, a team Syracuse beat head-to-head, but don’t tell the pundits that.
Only going to tweet this once, Cuse fans. Your team winning closely @ home v. Wake doesn’t give you the edge on Wake in resume comparison.— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) March 5, 2017
I see where Norlander is coming from here but it’s hard to believe the win wouldn’t give Syracuse a slight edge is some fashion.
Our own Chris Dobbertean has Syracuse as the second to last team in and playing Xavier in the first four. Both teams would be No. 11 seeds with the winner advancing to play No. 6 seeded SMU. Duke is the No. 3 seed in that region.
USA Today also has Syracuse among its last four teams invited, also as a No. 11 seed but facing off against Illinois. The winner of that game would play No. 6 seeded Iowa State. Butler is the No. 3 seed in that region (2010 revenge?).
I don’t think a bubble team has ever had this polarizing of a résumé and that includes last year’s Syracuse team. The parallels between last year’s Syracuse team and this year’s Syracuse team are astounding. The Orange were on the precipice of earning an NCAA Tournament bid heading into the conference tournament with a horrid RPI but with some solid wins.
As we know now, Syracuse lost to Pittsburgh in last year’s first round of the ACC Tournament and still earned an at-large. What’s eerie? That was the No. 8 seed vs the No. 9 seed game with the winner (Pitt) advancing to take on North Carolina. Syracuse is almost in the exact same position now as it was a year ago.
What do you say, Orange Nation? Will Syracuse beat Miami and finally get an ACC Tournament win? If SU loses will it still earn a bid? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.