The 2021-22 Syracuse Orange men’s basketball season is setting program records so far, but not in a good way. In the latest NET rankings Syracuse is currently 111th which is far off the bracketology radar. With the Orange hovering around .500 as they hit the road what lies ahead on the road back to the NCAA Tournament bubble?
Based on the latest NET rankings, Syracuse has 11 Quad 1 and 2 opportunities left this season- 5 Q1 and 6 Q2 as of today’s rankings. The Quad 1 games left are two with Duke (current NET 8) and the road games against Virginia Tech (29), North Carolina (35) and Wake Forest (56), The Orange are currently 1-2 in Q1 games and that win over Florida State is in a precarious position as the Seminoles are 68th in the NET and must stay in the top 75 to avoid the win falling to Q2.
Syracuse is 1-1 in Q2 match-ups with a win over Indiana (49) and loss to VCU (69). Neither seems likely to move up or down and the remaining Q2 games are home games against Clemson (50), Wake (56), Florida State (68) and Louisville (73) along with road games at Miami (95) and Notre Dame (107). The Hurricanes and Irish would be the only schools in danger of possibly falling below 135 and out of Q2 but if Miami continues to play well they could move into the top 75 and give the Orange another Q2 game when they visit Syracuse. Virginia playing better would also help the Orange because if the Cavaliers move into the top 75 then it’s one less Q3 loss on the resume.
It’s all really weird math that doesn’t matter much unless Syracuse strings together some wins in ACC play. However when you look back at last year we can see that Syracuse entered the NCAA Tournament with a record of 1-5 in Q1 games and 6-1 in Q2 contests. Only two of those wins came away from Syracuse and both were against NC State. The Selection Committee looks at road/neutral wins as carrying more weight than home games so the path to the Big Dance will be through those games.
A road sweep this week and suddenly Syracuse is suddenly 9-6 with a 4-3 record in Q1/2 games. Is this enough to erase some bad losses? Definitely not but it does give the Orange a bit of hope as we embark on the cold, gray Central New York winter. We’ll just see if a bit of Southern sunshine will be the lift this team needs.