We all know the Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team has work to do if they want to go dancing come March. As of right now, they sit at 12-11, 6-6 in conference — and are really only in the conversation because of some quality victories. Let’s take a look at what they’ve done so far, what they have to do, and what our chances are moving forward.
Good Wins: No. 9 Louisville, No. 14 Florida State
Syracuse played in plenty of close games early on against very quality opponents, but many of them slipped through the cracks in the final seconds (Michigan, West Virginia, etc.). The Orange beat Michigan State on a neutral floor when they were ranked, but that win’s not worth all that much anymore with the Spartans sitting at 11-12. However, they did beat both Florida State and Louisville inside the Dome, when each was ranked in the top 10. The Louisville win is the biggest of the year so far, as the Cardinals were potentially vying for a 1-seed along with an ACC Championship. When the two teams met earlier in the season in Kentucky, Syracuse only lost by four in a game where they looked like the better team.
As of right now, the Orange have just one scheduled game left vs. a ranked team: fourth-ranked NC State. That’s not necessarily a “must” win, but losing that game requires SU’s otherwise perfect the rest of the way. That’s because of...
Bad Losses: Green Bay, Wake Forest, Virginia, Miami
The Orange’s loss against Green Bay in Canada didn’t look so bad at first, as Green Bay was expected to have a good season. Unfortunately, the Phoenix sit at 12-12, and have struggled in conference play. Syracuse got blown out by both Georgia Tech at home. Wake has looked pretty bad this year, as they have lost 6 of their last 7 games — unfortunately, the one win came against Syracuse (they even lost to Pitt).
SU lost to Virginia in Charlottesville by 16 points. Virginia currently sits at 10-14. They also lost to Miami on the road by 15. These losses in ACC play seemed avoidable and surprising. These lapses in play could cost Syracuse a chance in the tournament. Just eliminating two of the losses above, no matter which game, would probably put Syracuse on the right side of the bubble right now.
What Needs To Happen: Go at least 5-1 before the ACC Tournament, with no bad losses
If Syracuse can go 5-1 to close out the regular season, which is very possible with the schedule that they have, they’ll be right in that conversation to get in. The schedule looks like this: at UNC, Pittsburgh, Clemson, at Notre Dame, at NC State, Boston College.
They’ll be 17-12 with a chance to add a game or two in Greensboro (has value in this case?). Going 5-1 should cancel out some of the bad losses we see above. If the Orange finish 6-0 in the regular season, that would likely get them in since it would add a third top-15 win to the resume (with this one on the road).
As of now, they’re nowhere to be seen on current bracketology posts by the experts, even though it seems as if the women’s brackets have been pretty inaccurate in recent memory. This whole year, Syracuse has seemed like they could make a run to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament, provided they get the chance to make the field. It’ll be interesting to see what the win over Louisville will do for this team’s confidence.