After Monday night’s disastrous 79-53 shellacking at the hands of Virginia, the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team now sits at 10-7 in league play, with just one more game to go — this Saturday at Clemson.
Though a double-bye is out of reach for Syracuse, the Orange still have an opportunity to finish as high as sixth in the league... or as low as eighth.
Here’s how all of that could play out:
Pretty simple. Just win their 11th ACC game on Saturday and the Orange clinch being ahead of Louisville via tiebreaker even if the Cards upset Virginia. Alternatively, Louisville could lose the season finale and NC State could lose one of the last two games (vs. Georgia Tech, at Boston College).
Seeded sixth, Syracuse would get a single bye and face the winner of the 11 v. 14 game — currently slated to be a matchup between Georgia Tech and Notre Dame. A win there would get them a quarterfinal game against the third seed (UVA/UNC/Duke).
If Louisville wins and Syracuse loses, while NC State loses one of the last two, the Orange would finish seventh. There’s also the chance that NC State wins both, Syracuse loses to Clemson and Louisville loses. But unfortunately that falls to the next line for SU (which we’ll explain there).
Finishing seventh puts them in the dreaded 7/10 game after the single bye, which would be the winner of the Boston College vs. Pitt game right now. The 10 seed’s beaten the 7 seed in two of the last three years of the ACC Tournament. Even a win gets you a matchup with the No. 2 seed (UVA/UNC/Duke).
Syracuse loses to Clemson, Louisville beats Virginia and NC State wins out. We could potentially eliminate this one by Wednesday if State loses to Georgia Tech.
There’s also the aforementioned situation where NC State wins both, Syracuse loses to Clemson and Louisville lose. In this case, the teams would all be tied at 10-8, with 1-1 records against the full group. Using three-team (or more) tiebreaker procedures:
- Teams all have zero wins vs. Virginia
- Louisville is only team to beat UNC, so they’d take sixth seed
- NC State takes seventh by way of head-to-head tiebreaker with Syracuse
This could also end up going in Syracuse’s favor if Duke is second. That would mean SU is the only team with a win over the Blue Devils, putting them sixth.
The eighth seed means the nightmare 8/9 game (which we last lost to Miami in 2016-17 — while I was on a goddamn plane to New York to watch SU). If you get past that, you’re facing the 1-seed next. One perk here is that a win in this game gets you another quality win.
We all cool with finishing sixth? Figured.