Forget being ranked in the top 25, Syracuse basketball won’t even make the NCAA Tournament – at least according to ESPN bracketology expert Joe Lunardi, that is.
One day after being left out of every major sports media outlet’s way-too-early top 25 rankings, Syracuse basketball took another blow to its ego after Lunardi pegged the Orange to miss the Big Dance for the second season in a row.
While the news can’t be reassuring to hear for Syracuse fans, it also can’t be all that surprising, as the Orange are currently (on paper) expected to field a roster that is considerably less experienced and less talented than last year’s team, which ended up losing in the second round of the NIT to Ole Miss.
Syracuse will lose three fifth-year seniors in Andrew White, John Gillon and DaJuan Coleman, as well as senior Tyler Roberson. In addition, the Orange will say goodbye to talented sophomore Tyler Lydon, who declared for the NBA Draft in March.
As a result of the considerable turnover, next year’s Syracuse team will be the youngest in a decade, as Syracuse.com’s Mike Waters previously pointed out. As of right now, the Orange will not have a single senior on its roster. In addition, point guard Frank Howard – who was relegated to the bench early last season – will be the only upperclassman on the team.
The lack of experience on next year’s roster is a large reason why the majority of the TNIAAM staff listed making the NCAA Tournament as the baseline expectation for next season. Now, it appears even accomplishing that feat may be in doubt.
Although Syracuse was left out of ESPN’s first bracketology prediction, Orange fans can take solace in the fact that Lunardi has been wrong on Syracuse’s inclusion in the tournament the past two years.
In 2016, Lunardi left Syracuse out of his final bracketology. The Orange, of course, received a 10-seed that year and went on to make the Final Four. This past season, Lunardi gave Syracuse the kiss of death, listing the Orange as one of his last four teams in. As a result, the Orange ended up missing the tournament entirely and received the No. 1 overall seed in the NIT.
What is your reaction to Lunardi’s early 2017-18 bracketology? And do you agree and think Syracuse will end up missing the tournament for the second season in a row? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.