While we don’t love the overall record, the league record actually looks pretty good and speaks well to where the Orange could finish in the season standings... as long as they manage to take care of business (somewhat) with three games to go.
First, a look at where things stand today:
Syracuse is currently tied for sixth, with the tiebreaker over Louisville (who SU beat last week). So if the ACC Tournament started today, they’d be the No. 6 seed, and get a single bye in the event.
Should Syracuse go 3-0 to end the season, a) they’d be in the NCAAs because that would include two more Quadrant 1 wins against UVA and at Clemson. And b) it would mean they’d be as high as a two-seed depending on what else happened to Virginia (12-2), Duke (12-3), Virginia Tech (11-5) and Florida State (10-5). First is out of reach after the Tar Heels’ win gave them a 13-2 record.
Here’s the remaining schedule for the non-UNC teams ahead of Syracuse right now:
- Virginia (12-2): Georgia Tech, Pitt, at Syracuse, Louisville
- Duke (12-3): Miami, Wake Forest, at North Carolina
- Virginia Tech (11-5): at Florida State, Miami
- Florida State (10-5): NC State, Virginia Tech, at Wake Forest
With a remaining schedule of road games at Wake Forest and Clemson, plus a home date against Virginia, Syracuse has the toughest schedule remaining of these teams, which won’t help matters if they want to catch UVA at No. 2. That would also require the Hoos to lose the other three games to close the season... something unlikely to happen.
One of FSU and Virginia Tech is guaranteed to lose at least another game. Both teams have the tiebreaker with Syracuse, however, so would have to lose two more for a 3-0 Syracuse team to pass them up. So basically... Syracuse is the six seed at best should they go 3-0.
Since 3-0’s not the only record Syracuse can finish with, though, what about the other possibilities?
A 2-1 record won’t move SU any higher than sixth but also won’t move them any lower than eighth. Louisville and Syracuse currently have the same league record, while NC State is a game back at 8-7. But unlike the Cards, they have the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Orange. State’s schedule is manageable, closing the year with road games at FSU and BC, plus a home contest with Georgia Tech. Should they go 3-0, they’d surpass a 2-1 Syracuse squad. Louisville just needs a better record than Syracuse, but has road game at BC and Virginia, plus one at home vs. Notre Dame.
A 1-2 record is far from out of the question, but only opens up the opportunity to fall as far as ninth. Clemson’s currently ninth at 6-8 and hosts Syracuse to wrap up the year. The Tigers need a 4-0 record to beat Syracuse on the tiebreaker at 10-8 apiece with a head-to-head win.
So the good is that there’s a slim chance at a double-bye, while also falling no further than ninth. The bad is that it’s not that hard to fall to eighth or ninth, and that means a tough early matchup with someone in the Louisville/NC State/Clemson group, followed by (if you even win) a game against the 1-seed in the quarterfinals.
The ACC Tournament gets started on March 12. We’ll be following along with the standings until then to see where Syracuse winds up.