After yet another cancellation due to COVID this season, the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team now has just four games remaining before an assumed (but far from guaranteed ACC Tournament).
The Louisville Cardinals were our best chance at getting a Quadrant 1 win for the NCAA Tournament resume, but it’s feasible that scheduled road games at Georgia Tech and Duke could also qualify depending on how those teams finish. Realistically, though, Syracuse was looking at 3-2 with a Louisville win to be in good tournament shape. If they’d gone 4-1 with or without beating Louisville, that would’ve been good too. Now? They’ll need to go 3-1 and ideally the lone loss is UNC (while picking up a couple road Ws).
is all hope lost? Hardly. But the Orange’s path to the Big Dance certainly gets a little bit tougher now. Unless... the ACC tacks on some games at the end of the schedule for everyone.
While the smarter and better idea may just be to take a week off, bubble everyone, finish a revised regular season in Greensboro and then play the ACC Tournament, it seems unlikely that occurs. So instead, we’ll probably see the week in between utilized to tack on games in the hopes that no one else tests positive (seems like a longshot at this point). JIm Boeheim’s already said this is a possible solution, and no, unfortunately Colgate can’t be one of the games added.
But who could?
First, we’ll note the most likely teams to get added. Then, those we’d most prefer to face.
Most likely late additions
Syracuse doesn’t have a game scheduled after March 1, while the conference schedule stretches to March 6 before the ACC Tournament is set to start on March 9 (in Greensboro). Here’s a quick rundown of everyone else’s schedule from March 2 on:
- Boston College: at Florida State (Mar. 3), at Miami (Mar. 5)
- Duke: at Georgia Tech (Mar. 2), at North Carolina (Mar. 6)
- Florida State: Boston College (Mar. 3), at Notre Dame (Mar. 6)
- Georgia Tech: Duke (Mar. 2), at Wake Forest (Mar. 5)
- Louisville: at Virginia Tech (Mar. 3), Virginia (Mar. 6)
- Miami: Boston College (Mar. 5)
- NC State: at Notre Dame (Mar. 3), Virginia Tech (Mar. 6)
- North Carolina: Duke (Mar. 6)
- Notre Dame: NC State (Mar. 3), Florida State (Mar. 6)
- Pittsburgh: Wake Forest (Mar. 2)
- Virginia: at Louisville (Mar. 6)
- Virginia Tech: Louisville (Mar. 3), at NC State (Mar. 6)
- Wake Forest: at Pitt (Mar. 2), Georgia Tech (Mar. 5)
Other than Syracuse, the only team without a game in the final week is Clemson, so you can add that one on in your mind despite wanting no part of the Tigers given the bad matchup and the beatdown SU took a couple weeks ago. Miami and Virginia are the other most likely games — though neither is super likely since those teams play one another on Mar. 1. The ACC tried to shove a lot of games in this year, but I doubt they’d ask either team to play three games in five days given the circumstances... especially for UVA, though, since the Hoos are the conference’s best chance to make it to the Final Four.
Things change a bit if current COVID issues stretch further, though. Honestly, I feel like Boston College might just call it a season and that would free up space for both Miami and Florida State. Louisville’s own COVID issues also create a hurdle, which could free up Virginia and Virginia Tech as well during this week.
Which late additions would we most want to face?
if we’re getting one game, then Clemson’s it and there’s no discussion. But two opponents opens things up if other games are cancelled (noted above). Of the options should BC and Louisville’s seasons end early, Virginia Tech’s the obvious choice since we’ve already beaten the Hokies. Don’t need to see UVA again, and glad we’re not facing off with FSU. Miami would net us another win, but not one that mattered.
Assuming Syracuse would be searching for more Quad 1 wins, the teams I’d most want to face (and where):
- at Virginia Tech (Quad 1 win no matter what else happens)
- at Louisville (Quad 1, but also not likely to occur)
- at Notre Dame (Quad 1 on the road as of right now)
- at Duke (won’t happen after facing them at Cameron Indoor next week)
- at Georgia Tech (see above)
So yeah, I’d very much like to see the Hokies again, but that requires things to happen that include taking Louisville off the remaining schedule entirely. Would rather that didn’t happen from a human being standpoint. But if we’re going to have to face Clemson once more (seems likely), then I’d rather try to balance out that possible loss with a Quad 1 win.
Who would you prefer to face? Are you dreading a possible rematch with Clemson? Share your own scheduling what-ifs below.