Year two in the Felisha Legette-Jack era remains incredibly promising with the Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team entering the ACC portion of the 2023-2024 season with seven-straight wins and a 10-1 record.
The Orange are coming off a recent 85-43 home win over Saint Francis (PA), officially wrapping up all games versus non-conference opponents this year. With 18 ACC games standing in the way between now and March, it’s time to take a look at what Syracuse’s postseason resume currently looks like and what the outlook will be moving forward with nothing but ACC opponents the rest of the way.
For starters, Syracuse is off to one of its better starts in recent history — the 2017-2018 season marks the last time the Orange finished with 10 non-conference wins or more.
Syracuse successfully landed two high-quality wins over Alabama (29th in NET) in the ACC/SEC Challenge and Iowa State (54th in NET) to boost its postseason resume compared to last year.
Syracuse’s non-conference results from 2023-2024 season
|Saint Francis (PA)
The Orange (9-2 in non-con last year) not only had zero quality non-conference wins last season, but notably fell to Penn State (who finished with a 14-17 record and 92nd in NET) and only beat three non-conference opponents with a .500 record or better (Stony Brook, Colgate and Albany).
This time around, Syracuse already has both a Q1 and a Q2 win; the Orange’s lone loss this season was to Maryland (39th in NET and ranked at the time of the game) 83-81 on the road. The Orange this season just have both a better record and multiple wins over teams with a higher postseason upside.
In total, Syracuse sits with a combined 8-0 record against Q3 and Q4 opponents, plus a 1-1 record against Q1 teams and a 1-0 record against Q2 teams.
The Orange currently rank 48th overall in NET despite their non-conference strength of schedule sitting at 233rd in the NCAA, which is ninth-best in the ACC. Syracuse is just behind North Carolina (46th in NET), Miami (44th) and Florida State (42nd) and just ahead of Georgia Tech (53rd).
For context, Syracuse ended last season with the 57th-best NET rating in the NCAA, so the Orange are already ahead of that mark and have an ACC slate filled with postseason-worthy teams.
On that note, the Orange are also starting the ACC portion of the schedule already on the inside track of the 2024 NCAA Tournament. Last year, Syracuse had to battle from the outside just to get into the tournament conversation, which it was able to do in the final few weeks of the 2022-2023 season before falling just short.
Syracuse is currently projected to be a nine-seed in ESPN’s latest bracketology update, which was released on Tuesday. Including the Orange, 10 total teams from the ACC are projected to be in this season’s tournament if the season ended today — that number will realistically be eight or nine teams just based on the recent history.
The obvious question moving forward is can Syracuse obtain a few wins versus the best of the best in the ACC. The Orange were just 3-11 against Q1 opponents and only beat one AP top-25 opponent (UNC) last season. While the rest of the resume was impressive (5-2 versus Q2, 12-0 combined versus Q3/Q4), the lack of more than one defining win was partly the reason Syracuse fell just short of the tournament.
This year’s schedule for the ACC will certainly be a challenging one — only three of Syracuse’s 16 games against the conference will be against programs ranked 100th or worse in NET (Pittsburgh twice and Wake Forest once). Ten of the Orange’s ACC games will be against teams ranked 50th or better in NET — Notre Dame (twice), North Carolina, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Louisville (twice), Miami, Duke and NC State
Realistically, a 9-9 record this season against the ACC should (at the bare minimum) should keep Syracuse on the tournament bubble given the team’s current resume.
With that said, given the current state of the ACC, nothing will be totally guaranteed for Syracuse until the program hears its name called on Selection Sunday.