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Syracuse women’s basketball: weekly TNIAAM awards, Bracketology and ACC updates for January 31st

One more month of chaos left to go.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Syracuse at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

With some recent losses for the men’s team, it appears like it’ll be up to the #21 Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team (17-3, 7-2) to continue surging ahead and lock in a much-coveted NCAA Tournament berth.

If you can believe it, we’re approaching the final(ish) stretch of the 2023-2024 season. Just nine games stand between the Orange and this year’s highly-anticipated ACC Tournament, and Syracuse possesses a strong chance to secure a decent seed in the tournament over the next month.

We’ve got a lot to unpack, so let’s get to the weekly recap of women’s hoops:

The Orange this week and next week

Note: All team records include games from up to and including Tuesday, January 31.

Syracuse split both its games this past week, with each having some pretty significant implications given how this season has played out. The Orange first beat the #15 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 79-65 to secure the program’s first ever road win in South Bend and single-season sweep. However, Syracuse fell 75-62 at home versus the #19 Virginia Tech Hokies which was the Orange’s first home loss all season.

The Orange are back on the road to take on the #16 Louisville Cardinals on Thursday night — the team’s third-straight game versus an AP top 25 ACC opponent — followed by a home game Sunday afternoon versus the Boston College Eagles.

The TNIAAM Orange Player of the Week

This week’s co-winners: Alaina Rice and Kyra Wood

Dyaisha Fair recent hot streak mostly continued against both Notre Dame and Virginia Tech, but Alaina Rice’s offense and Kyra Wood’s defense stood out the most in what was still a successful week for the Orange.

Rice averaged 16.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game this week but notably shined with 19 points and 8 rebounds versus the Fighting Irish. She also was top-three in scoring for Syracuse in both games.

Similar to Rice, Wood also played one of her best games for Syracuse against Notre Dame, where she finished with 4 points, 13 rebounds and 6 blocks. She also grabbed 12 rebounds versus Virginia Tech and continues to shine in her second year with the program. Her recent stretch of success means she’s now the seventh different player to end up with a TNIAAM Player of the Week nod.

TNIAAM Player of the Week tracker: Dyaisha Fair x5, Georgia Woolley x2, Alyssa Latham x2, Alaina Rice x2, Saniaa Wilson x1, Sophie Burrows x1, Kyra Wood x1

Bracketology and AP Poll Update

Note: Latest projections from ESPN’s Charlie Creme updated as of Tuesday, January 31.

Syracuse moved up one spot to rank No. 21 in this week’s latest AP poll, marking the third time this season that the Orange have been ranked in the AP top 25. This is also the highest Syracuse has been ranked in the Felisha Legette-Jack era.

In the most surprising development from this week, Syracuse moved down from a projected five-seed to a six-seed in ESPN’s latest bracketology update. Yes, I’m still trying to make sense of this as well. In this bracketology update, Virginia Tech is a four-seed and Notre Dame is a six-seed. You would think the 14-point win against the then-#15 Fighting Irish is more valuable than losing by 13 to #19 Virginia Tech. It’s disappointing, but at the very least, the Orange remain on the inside track for an NCAA Tournament bid.

Syracuse also moved to 3-3 against Q1 opponents, but remains undefeated (14-0) versus Q2 (2-0), Q3 (5-0) and Q4 (7-0) teams. The Orange are 42nd overall in NET, which is eighth-best in the ACC.

ACC power rankings and a look around the conference

Note: All team records include games from up to and including Tuesday, January 31.

Here are the updated standings in the ACC as of Tuesday night:

Updated 2023-2024 ACC Women’s Basketball Standings

ACC Team Current Conference Ranking Last Week Conference Ranking Conf. Record Overall Record
ACC Team Current Conference Ranking Last Week Conference Ranking Conf. Record Overall Record
Louisville 1 3 7-1 18-3
Syracuse 2 1 7-2 17-3
Virginia Tech. 3 5 7-2 16-4
North Carolina 4 2 7-2 15-6
NC State 5 6 6-2 18-2
Notre Dame 6 4 5-3 15-4
Florida State 7 7 6-4 15-7
Duke 8 9 5-4 13-7
Georgia Tech. 9 8 4-5 13-8
Miami 10 11 3-5 13-6
Boston College 11 10 3-6 11-11
Virginia 12 12 2-7 10-10
Clemson 13 13 2-7 9-12
Pittsburgh 14 14 1-7 7-14
Wake Forest 15 15 0-8 4-16

Here are this week’s ACC games with the most stakes for the postseason standings:

  • #24 North Carolina (15-6, 7-2) versus #5 NC State (18-2, 6-2) on Thursday (8 pm EST, ACC Network)
  • Miami (13-6, 3-5) versus Florida State (15-7, 6-4) on Sunday (11 am EST, The CW Network)
  • #17 Virginia Tech (16-4, 7-2) versus #24 North Carolina (15-6, 7-2) on Sunday (12 pm EST, ESPN2)