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Syracuse women’s basketball: ACC Rankings and Bracketology Watch for February 8th

The Orange are back in the March Madness bracket conversation with five games left to go.

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

It all comes down to this.

As predicted all the way back before this season began, the Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team (15-9, 6-7) will not go down easy. Despite recent injuries and some difficult losses to ranked opponents, Syracuse still has a path to making this year’s NCAA Tournament this season.

Let’s hop right into our weekly look at the Orange because we’ve got a lot to discuss.

Breaking down the bracket

Note: ESPN’s projected 2023 NCAA Tournament bracket is updated as of Tuesday, February 7 at 8 am EST.

For the second update of the season, Syracuse finds itself in the midst of the NCAA Tournament conversation, currently projected to finish as a “Next Four Out” team alongside UMass, Toledo, and Texas Tech. This is the first time the Orange are back in ESPN’s bracketology update since January 20th.

Syracuse ranks 65th in NET ranking, consistently remaining in the top-65 in NET mainly due to its combination of capitalizing on all its “this should be a relatively-easy win” opportunities and close games against a loaded ACC. The Orange are still 0-7 against NCAA top-50 NET teams but are now up to five wins against programs ranked 51-100 in NET ranking.

As stated in the past few updates, the magic number for ‘Cuse is eight if it’s looking to sneak into the March Madness bracket. The ACC, Pac-12, Big Ten, and SEC all project to have eight programs representing each conference in the bracket. Looking at the current landscape of the ACC, here is how I would tier Syracuse in comparison to the rest of its conference:

No questions asked: Duke (3 seed), Notre Dame (3 seed), North Carolina (3 seed), Florida State (4 seed), Virginia Tech (4 seed)

Mostly sure-fire tournament teams: NC State (6 seed), Louisville (7 seed)

The bubble teams: Miami (12 seed), Syracuse (Next Four Out), Wake Forest

The (very) outer periphery: Boston College, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Pittsburgh

With that said, Syracuse enters this coming week with a difficult path forward...

The Orange this week and next week

Note: All team records include games from up to and including Wednesday, February 8.

Syracuse went 1-1 since our last update on February 1, first falling by 14 points on the road to #11 Virginia Tech before securing a 79-72 home win over Boston College.

Up next for the Orange is a postseason-defining, four-game stretch featuring three ranked opponents (#14 North Carolina, #10 Notre Dame, and #19 Florida State) before suiting up for a must-win scenario on February 19 at home versus Miami.

This week, ‘Cuse will take on the Tar Heels Thursday night at the JMA Wireless Dome before hitting the road for a rematch against the Fighting Irish Sunday late afternoon.

The TNIAAM Orange Player of the Week

This week’s co-winners: Georgia Woolley and Dyaisha Fair

Statistically, Dyaisha Fair’s counting stats (22 points, 5 rebounds, 6 steals, and 1.5 steals per game against Virginia Tech and Boston College) are superior to Woolley's.

With that said, I’m going with Woolley for two reasons. First, she shined amid the continued absence of Teisha Hyman, particularly with her efficiency. Her 18 first-half points against BC basically guaranteed an early victory for the Orange against the Eagles, then shined as the only semi-efficient offensive player against the Hokies. Woolley averaged 19 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1 block while shooting 12/28 (43%) from the field and 6/15 (40%) from three. For comparison, Fair shot 14/38 (37%) from the field and 4/15 (27%) from three.

I’m still keeping Fair as a co-winner because Syracuse’s offense falls off a cliff when she isn’t in the game. Defensively, Fair didn’t shine this week compared to her statistical resume, but you can’t overstate the importance of Fair’s availability, usage, durability, and shot-making potential on the court for the Orange.

TNIAAM Orange Player of the Week tracker: Dyaisha Fair x5, Georgia Woolley x2, Teisha Hyman x1, Dariauna Lewis x1, Alaina Rice x1

ACC power rankings and a look around the conference

Note: All team records include games from up to and including Wednesday, February 8.

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 10-2 20-3
Notre Dame 2 2 9-3 18-4
Florida State 3 3 9-3 20-5
Virginia Tech. 4 5 9-4 19-4
North Carolina 5 4 8-4 17-6
Louisville 6 6 8-4 17-8
Miami 7 8 8-4 15-8
NC State 8 7 6-6 16-7
Syracuse 9 9 6-7 15-9
Wake Forest 10 10 5-8 14-10
Boston College 11 11 4-9 14-12
Clemson 12 12 4-9 13-12
Georgia Tech. 13 14 3-9 12-11
Virginia 14 13 3-10 14-10
Pittsburgh 15 15 1-11 8-15

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

  • #19 Florida State (20-5, 9-3) @ Miami (15-8, 8-4) on Thursday evening
  • #14 North Carolina (17-6, 8-4) @ Syracuse (15-9, 6-7) on Thursday evening
  • #22 NC State (16-7, 6-6) @ Wake Forest (14-10, 5-8) on Thursday evening
  • Miami (15-8, 8-4) @ #9 Duke (20-3, 10-2) on Sunday afternoon
  • #19 Florida State (20-5, 9-3) @ #11 Virginia Tech (19-4, 9-4) on Sunday afternoon


TNIAAM Community: An NCAA Tournament berth is still in play. How are you feeling about the Orange’s outlook with the end of the season near?