When we last checked in on the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team’s potential finishes in the ACC, we were looking at anywhere from a sixth to an eighth seed. However, following a comical finish to the NC State game on Wednesday night, Syracuse can’t finish any lower than seventh.
And James Banks with the answer. Dunk by Banks gives GT a 62-61 lead with 1.0 seconds left. And Banks was fouled on the dunk— Joe Giglio (@jwgiglio) March 7, 2019
NC State fell to Georgia Tech, 63-61 and in doing so, dropped to 8-9 on the season in ACC play. That eliminates the tiebreaker scenario that would drop the Orange into the 8-seed. It also puts the Wolfpack’s NCAA Tournament chances in peril.
As far as things that actually concern us, however, the loss means that Syracuse is only looking at two other teams in terms of where they’ll be seeded: the Virginia Tech Hokies (11-6) and the Louisville Cardinals (10-7). We look at how things could shake out below.
Situation 1: Virginia Tech wins, Syracuse wins, Louisville wins
Virginia Tech would take the 5-seed by way of better conference W-L record. Syracuse is sixth seed over Louisville due to head-to-head tiebreaker.
Situation 2: Virginia Tech wins, Syracuse wins, Louisville loses
All three teams have different records, so they go in order — Tech fifth, Orange sixth, Cards seventh.
Situation 3: Virginia Tech wins, Syracuse loses, Louisville loses
Same as above. Tech’s the 5, SU beats Louisville on head-to-head for sixth spot.
Situation 4: Virginia Tech wins, Syracuse loses, Louisville wins
Syracuse finishes seventh because they’re 10-8, while UL is 11-7.
Situation 5: Virginia Tech loses, Syracuse wins, Louisville loses
Tech takes the five spot with head-to-head win over Syracuse. UL has one more loss than both, so finishes seventh.
Situation 6: Virginia Tech loses, Syracuse loses, Louisville loses
Tech’s the five-spot since they’re 11-7. Orange take sixth over Cards since they have the same record.
Situation 7: Virginia Tech loses, Syracuse loses, Louisville wins
Louisville jumps up to the fifth seed since they beat the Hokies. Syracuse falls to seventh since they have a worse record than the other two.
Situation 8a: Virginia Tech loses, Syracuse wins, Louisville wins (plus Duke beats UNC)
In this scenario, all three teams are tied at 11-7, which means we have to look at their record over the top team in the conference. If Duke beats the Heels, that means the Blue Devils are No. 1. Both Syracuse and Tech beat Duke, so the tiebreaker would then just go to head-to-head between those two, putting Tech fifth and Syracuse sixth.
Situation 8b: Virginia Tech loses, Syracuse wins, Louisville wins (plus UNC beats Duke)
Once again, all three teams are tied at 11-7. If North Carolina wins, they’re the top seed. Here, Louisville gets the fifth seed by way of beating the Heels earlier this year. Then Syracuse loses the tiebreaker for sixth to Virginia Tech, and the Orange finish seventh.
So as you’ll notice, most of these result in Syracuse finishing sixth... but a couple do result in an unfortunate seventh-place finish. The Orange beating Clemson is helpful toward a better outcome, but it’s certainly not a lock even with a win there.