The Syracuse Orange (18-9, 9-5) are coming off a home loss to the Duke Blue Devils on Saturday that otherwise would have likely all but locked up its trip to the Big Dance. Still, with a big win earlier in the week against Louisville, the Orange are looking good as it relates to earning an at large berth to the NCAA Tournament.
We’re now less than three weeks away from Selection Sunday, so with that in mind let’s do a deeper dive on the Syracuse résumé up to this point. Below is a screenshot of Syracuse’s team sheet, which is the same tool the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee will use to evaluate the Orange.
For those not in the know, the selection committee will no longer utilize the RPI as the main sorting tool when evaluating teams and instead will use what’s called the NCAA evaluation tool or NET for short.
The quadrant system remains and it should be noted that the NET is only one of the many tools used in the selection process. For those more interested in that process and its inner workings, Matt Norlander of CBS Sports put together an informative Q&A with Stanford athletic director Bernard Muir, who will close out his five year tenure on the selection committee this March.
Shifting gears to the team sheet, Syracuse is 18-9 overall and 9-5 in the ACC, sixth place in the conference standings. As of Sunday night, the Orange came in at No. 44 in the NET and had a strength of schedule (SOS) of 20. Syracuse had a non-conference SOS of 41 and went 9-4 before starting ACC play.
Emphasis is placed on quadrants to categorize wins and losses with quadrant one being the highest quality and quadrant four being the lowest.
As per the team sheet above, Syracuse’s record by quadrants is as follows:
Quadrant 1: 3-5
Quadrant 2: 5-3
Quadrant 3: 6-1
Quadrant 4: 4-0
Syracuse is 13-5 in home games, 5-2 in true road games and 0-2 on neutral court settings.
Recently the Orange have benefited from some movement of its opponents in the NET. Most notably, Georgetown has slid up 73 in the NET which means Syracuse had a quadrant 3 win move to quadrant 2. Old Dominion has moved to 75 in the NET, so Syracuse had a quadrant 3 loss move to quadrant 2. Both are favorable for the Orange. It’s unlikely that any of Syracuse’s other wins would slide up, but Old Dominion and Georgetown could slide back to quadrant 3 with a loss.
All this to say, Syracuse is sitting on the right side of the bubble as it stands now and would undoubtedly be selected with this résumé if the selection began today. But the regular season isn’t over just yet.
The Orange go on the road to North Carolina and Wake Forest on Tuesday and Saturday, respectively, and then return home to take on Virginia on Monday and close out on the road at Clemson on March 9. Syracuse will then play in the ACC Tournament in Charlotte the ensuing week.
I still think Syracuse’s most important win to get is at Wake because that’s the last remaining game on the schedule that could potentially be a bad loss (quadrant 3). The UNC, Virginia and Clemson games will all be of the quadrant 1 variety.
It would be of great benefit if the Orange could pick up another quadrant 1 win and also if it could pick up a win or two in the ACCT to improve upon its 0-2 record on neutral courts.
What do you think will happen the rest of the way and, barring a total collapse, what seed are you hopeful Syracuse gets on Selection Sunday? Any preferred location for the tournament this year? Join in on the conversation below.