Maybe it’s not the way we envisioned it, but the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team finished up the 2020-21 season ranked 25th in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
While top-25 rankings used to be the norm for this program — and could be again — inclusions have been fleeting of late. Syracuse received Coaches Poll votes in preseason and in week one this year, but that was the last time they sniffed those rankings ‘til now after finishing the year with a loss to Houston in the Sweet 16.
The last time SU was ranked in the Coaches Poll top 25 was week one of the 2018-19 season when they were 14th. Interestingly, the Orange didn’t make the top 25 at the end of the 2017-18 season, following a similar run to the Sweet 16. SU made the first four polls of 2016-17 before dorpping out. Following a surprise run to the 2016 Final Four, they finished 10th in the Coaches Poll that year.
Syracuse beat just one team ranked in this season’s final Coaches Poll — No. 18 West Virginia. The Orange also suffered two losses to No. 24 Virginia and one to No. 3 Houston (in the Sweet 16, obviously).
As we noted earlier today, Syracuse is currently seen as a top 25 team for next year following the strong finish (5-2 with two NCAA Tournament upsets) to 2020-21. That banks on some key players like Alan Griffin and Quincy Guerrier returning, which... TBD. But we’re also far from the only team dealing with questions around departures this offseason.