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Which teams should Syracuse be keeping an eye on this week?

Win or lose, there’s still some disruption that can affect us.

NCAA Basketball: Clemson at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Sure, maybe the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team is in the NCAAs regardless of what happens in the ACC Tournament. But just in case, we should probably know who we’re keeping an eye on over the course of this week. Even if we’re in the field, what happens elsewhere still has a direct impact on where exactly we end up.

So with that in mind, here are the teams we’re noticing, for better or worse:

Definitely In

Saint Mary’s Gaels, by way of upsetting Gonzaga in the WCC Tournament, playing their way off the bubble and stealing a bid.

Probably in

Iowa Hawkeyes, Oklahoma Sooners, Ole Miss Rebels, Utah State Aggies

Don’t need to dive too far into these teams. An opening-round conference tournament loss is unlikely to knock any of them out of the field unless chaos takes over this week.

NCAA Basketball: Arizona State at Oregon State Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Trending In

Arizona State Sun Devils (21-9, 12-6 Pac-12)

ASU’s won five of six and is the only Pac-12 team other than Washington that wouldn’t really qualify as a bid-stealer. Just winning one tournament game should lock up a bid.

Minnesota Golden Gophers (19-12, 9-11 Big Ten)

Minnesota is 3-7 over the last 10, but is around .500 in one of the country’s top conferences and owns several big wins over Washington, Wisconsin, Iowa and Purdue. Beating Penn State on Thursday wraps it up if things aren’t locked in already.

Seton Hall Pirates (18-12, 9-9 Big East)

The resume is pretty top-heavy for Seton Hall, but they’re probably in by way of victories over Kentucky, Marquette and Villanova — the latter two coming in the last two games. A win over Georgetown on Thursday will not only lock them in, but it’ll knock out the Hoyas.

Temple Owls (23-8, 13-5 AAC)

The resume’s really just wins over UCF and Houston, though the win total is really what’s buoying the Owls. They can take home a win for good measure in the league tournament, and others after that could potentially bump the Owls up into the 9-seed conversation or higher.

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Indiana Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

At-Large Contenders

Clemson Tigers (19-12, 9-9 ACC)

The Tigers have one big win over Virginia Tech, plus the recent victory over Syracuse. A shaky bubble helps them out. They’re in more of a must-win situation in game one (vs. NC State) than SU is. But a win there will get them in. Anything beyond that gets them similar seeding to Syracuse, or beyond.

Creighton Bluejays (18-13, 9-9 Big East)

Creighton’s beaten Clemson and Marquette, and is .500 in a top-heavy Big East, plus only got there by winning five straight to end the year. They’ll probably need to do more than just beat Xavier just to get into the field. It may take two wins and some luck in terms of where others win/lose.

Florida Gators (17-14, 9-9 SEC)

Florida has a high number of losses, and two major wins over LSU and Ole Miss. That puts them squarely in the cross hairs of any bid-stealer, and puts the onus on the Gators to pick up a win over Arkansas to start the SEC Tournament. They’ll likely need more than that to be safe.

Indiana Hoosiers (17-14, 8-12 Big Ten)

The record looks bad overall and out of conference. But Indiana’s beaten Marquette, Louisville, Wisconsin and mostly importantly, Michigan State (twice) to make for what’s arguably the best collection of wins of any bubble team. A loss to Ohio State would probably knock them out despite those victories. Beating the Buckeyes would likely lock up a bid.

N.C. State Wolfpack (21-10, 9-9 ACC)

State’s non-conference schedule was a joke, and has two “good” wins over Syracuse and Auburn. A weak bubble and a win over Clemson on Wednesday is a decent start. They’ll need at least one more (an unlikely upset over Virginia would have to be next) to feel completely safe on Sunday.

New Mexico State Aggies (27-4, 15-1 WAC)

NMSU hasn’t lost since January 4 and probably still needs to win the league to make it. Just in case, though, every bubble team hopes they don’t get upset.

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State Buckeyes (18-13, 8-12 Big Ten)

Remember when the Bucks were ranked 16th and then lost to Syracuse? That was fun. Since then, they’ve looked awful and have just a win over Iowa to show for it. They’re still in the conversation by way of Minnesota, Indiana, Cincinnati and Creighton. Beating the Hoosiers in the B1G Tournament is a start (and probably knocks out IU), but more is likely needed to deal with bid-stealing elsewhere.

St. John’s Red Storm (20-11, 8-10 Big East)

The Red Storm swept Marquette, beat Villanova and Seton Hall, and also outside bubble team Georgetown. But three straight losses to mediocre Big East squads Xavier (twice) and DePaul has put their chances in doubt. Dropping a fourth straight on Wednesday (to DePaul, again) could put them at the whims of what happens elsewhere. A win means they’re more likely to be in than not.

TCU Horned Frogs (19-12, 7-11 Big 12)

They’ve beaten Iowa State, Lipscomb, Baylor and Texas twice, which is a nice collection of wins that helps balance out the 2-6 finish and bad computer and non-conference numbers. A win over Oklahoma State probably isn’t enough to lock them in, though an upset over top-seed Kansas State would.

Texas Longhorns (16-15, 8-10 Big 12)

The record alone would be a non-starter most years, but Texas has wins over Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Purdue, Kansas State and North Carolina, plus Kerwin Roach just served a five-game suspension which saw the team go 1-4. Another win over Kansas to start the Big 12 Tournament on Thursday would lock them in.

Praying: Belmont Bruins, Lipscomb Bisons

These teams have already lost in their respective conference tournaments, so it’s up to a lot of luck and some favorable evaluations from the committee.


Like I said, current situation says Syracuse is in. But quite a bit can change within this group of teams, and that’s before accounting for some stolen bids (there’s already been a few). If the Orange win against Pitt, we’re almost definitely resting easy come Selection Sunday. A loss and they’re inching toward that lower group we profiled.