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Syracuse women’s basketball: ACC Rankings and Bracketology Watch for January 22nd

That’s right: the Orange are a borderline-tourney team for the first time this season.

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NCAA Womens Basketball: Notre Dame at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Even with back-to-back double-digit losses to #7 Notre Dame and Georgia Tech, it’s hard to not take a brief moment to commend the Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team (13-6, 4-4) for what the program has done in year one of the Felisha Legette-Jack era.

That begins with the announcement that Syracuse was considered a “Next Four Out” team in an earlier edition of ESPN’s latest bracket projection. The Georgia Tech loss this past week has dropped the Orange out of the most updated version. With that said, considering the Orange’s lack of continuity and reliance on transfers from other programs heading into this season, it’s a remarkable step in the right direction for a team missing one in 2021-2022.

As always, we’ll be doing our weekly look at the past week of Syracuse women’s basketball and what’s going on elsewhere in the NCAAW world.

But first...

Breaking down the bracket

Note: ESPN’s projected 2023 NCAA Tournament bracket is updated as of Friday, January 20th at 11 am EST.

That’s right: it’s time to reveal a new category with the Orange projected to at least be in the mix to sneak into the NCAA Tournament. Syracuse is currently 67th in NET ranking with three wins against top-100 programs. The Orange’s upcoming schedule will also provide the team with plenty of chances to improve its resume. Up to this point, only four of Syracuse’s 19 games this season are against top-100 NET programs.

However, the Orange will suit up against a hyper-competitive, 10-game slate to end the regular season which includes four ranked conference games (#7 Notre Dame, #12 Virginia Tech, #13 Duke, and #17 North Carolina), and four additional contests against projected NCAA Tournament-bound programs (Virginia, Louisville, Florida State, and Miami). For context, here are the resumes of those opponents:

Syracuse women’s basketball’s upcoming schedule

Opponent Game Date Overall Record Conference Record NET Ranking Top-25 NET Wins Top-50 NET Wins
Opponent Game Date Overall Record Conference Record NET Ranking Top-25 NET Wins Top-50 NET Wins
#13 Duke Jan. 22 (road) 6-1 16-2 9 1 3
Virginia Jan. 26 (home) 3-5 14-5 39 0 0
Louisville Jan. 29 (home) 6-2 15-6 32 2 2
#12 Virginia Tech Feb. 2 (road) 5-3 15-3 23 2 6
#17 North Carolina Feb. 9 (home) 4-3 13-5 20 5 6
#7 Notre Dame Feb. 12 (road) 6-1 15-2 6 2 3
Florida State Feb. 16 (road) 6-2 17-4 16 2 5
Miami Feb. 19 (home) 5-3 12-7 45 2 2

Translation: winning a few of these matchups will give the Orange plenty of resume-building upside.

Anyways, onto the bracket. Parity remains a central focus of this year’s women’s basketball season. The ACC, Pac-12, and SEC are all tied for the most teams projected to make the 2023 NCAA Tournament (eight programs). To make the tournament, Syracuse will need to have some (or even most) of the following benchmarks: top-half record in the ACC, a berth in either the conference semifinals or finals, and at least two AP top-25 wins.

I’ll have a detailed piece on projecting where Syracuse will need to finish in its conference coming out soon, but Syracuse will need to be in the top half of the ACC without a doubt. If I were to tier all the teams in the conference based on the likelihood of earning a tournament bid, it would look something like this:

No questions asked: Notre Dame, Duke, North Carolina, Florida State

Solidly tournament-bound: Louisville, Virginia Tech, NC State

The dark-horses: Virginia, Miami

Outside looking in: Syracuse, Clemson, Boston College

The Orange would need to make a leap into that next tier to have a puncher’s chance of clinching a spot in a March Madness game.

The Orange this week and next week

Note: All team records include games from up to and including Saturday, January 21.

Syracuse lost back-to-back games since our last update courtesy of some late-game collapses, first at home against #7 Notre Dame and then on the road versus Georgia Tech.

This week, the Orange will suit up for a road game against #13 Duke Sunday afternoon before returning to the Dome for a Thursday night matchup against Virginia.

The TNIAAM Orange Player of the Week

This week’s winner: Dyaisha Fair

Fair was a solid positive in a week of disappointment for the Orange, serving as the only Syracuse player to reach double-figures (15.5 PPG) in both the team’s games this past week. I’ll give a quick shoutout to Kyra Wood (25 MPG, 7.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG, and 1.5 BPG), whose stats don’t accurately reflect her improvement in the paint on both ends of the court. With that said, Fair proved to be crucial to keeping Syracuse afloat in the last two games.

TNIAAM Orange Player of the Week tracker: Dyaisha Fair x3, Teisha Hyman x1, Georgia Woolley x1, Dariauna Lewis x1

ACC power rankings and a look around the conference

Note: All team records include games from up to and including Saturday, January 21.

As usual, here are where things stand in the ACC heading into this week’s games:

2022-2023 ACC Women’s Basketball Standings

ACC Team Current Conference Ranking Last Week's Conference Ranking Conf. Record Overall Record
ACC Team Current Conference Ranking Last Week's Conference Ranking Conf. Record Overall Record
Duke 1 1 5-0 15-1
Notre Dame 2 3 6-1 15-2
Florida State 3 2 6-2 17-4
Louisville 4 5 6-2 15-6
Virginia Tech. 5 7 5-3 15-3
Miami 6 6 5-3 12-7
North Carolina 7 10 4-3 13-5
NC State 8 8 4-4 14-5
Syracuse 9 4 4-4 13-6
Virginia 10 11 3-5 14-5
Boston College 11 9 3-5 13-8
Clemson 12 12 3-5 12-8
Wake Forest 13 13 2-6 11-8
Georgia Tech. 14 14 1-7 10-9
Pittsburgh 15 15 0-7 7-11

Heading into the weekend, here are some games to watch for this week with the ACC programs:

  • Syracuse (13-6, 4-4) @ #13 Duke (16-2, 6-1) on Sunday early-afternoon
  • #20 NC State (14-5, 4-4) @ Louisville (15-6, 6-2) on Sunday early-afternoon
  • Virginia (14-5, 4-3) @ #7 Notre Dame (15-2, 7-1) on Sunday afternoon
  • Florida State (17-4, 6-1) @ #7 Notre Dame (15-2, 7-1) on Thursday night
  • #12 Virginia Tech (15-3, 5-3) @ #13 Duke (16-2, 6-1) on Thursday night


TNIAAM Community: Do you think Syracuse has a shot at an NCAA Tournament berth? share your thoughts in the comments down below.