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Syracuse men’s basketball: A look at where the Orange stand with the non-conference games over

NCAA Basketball: Cornell at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

With the Syracuse Orange finished with the non-conference schedule of the 22-23 season, let’s look at where they stand.

A five-game winning streak as Syracuse at 8-4 but the Orange rank only 159th in the NET. Syracuse has 5 of their 8 wins over Quad 4 teams and have suffered two Quad 3 losses already. Tomorrow’s opponent the Pitt Panthers sit 75th which means it’s an opportunity for Syracuse to get their first Quad 2 win of the season.

If you look over at the KenPom rankings, the Orange sit in 80th spot. In those rankings, the Orange offense (69th) ranks higher than the defense (92nd) but Syracuse has played one of the weakest non-conference schedule in the country. Four ACC teams- Virginia, Duke, UNC and Virginia Tech sit in the KenPom top 25 right now.

NCAA Basketball: North Florida at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Right now these rankings don’t mean a ton, but it does highlight that the Orange need to take care of business against the ACC schools around and beneath them. The next three games against Pitt, Boston College, and at Louisville are as close to “must win” as you can get before the spring semester begins. Opportunities for quality road wins in the ACC might be limited to Virginia, Miami and Virginia Tech.

There are scenarios where the Orange can get 12 or 13 ACC wins and still find themselves needing to win multiple ACC Tournament games to get into the conversation. The Colgate and Bryant losses hurt and an ACC schedule that looked to finally be favorable to the Orange might not do them any favors after all.

On the positive side, if Syracuse keeps winning games they have a chance to flip this narrative. The record is what it is and all the Orange can do now is focus on what’s in front of them- starting with Pitt,