In a week's time, Syracuse basketball fans will be making one final March journey to New York City to witness the Big East Conference Tournament.
After this weekend's action, the Orange (22-7, 10-6 Big East) are in a two-way tie with Notre Dame (10-6) for fifth place in the league standings. However, the Feb. 4 victory over the Fighting Irish helps Syracuse earn the fifth seed in the Big East Tournament, if play started THIS Tuesday.
If the BET started THIS Tuesday, here's how the bracket and schedule would look like:
Tues., March 12 - First Round (ESPNU)
(12) Seton Hall vs. (13) South Florida - 7 p.m.
(11) Rutgers vs. (14) DePaul - 9 p.m.
Wed., March 13 - Second Round (ESPN/ESPN2)
(8) Providence vs. (9) St. John's - Noon
(5) Syracuse vs. No. 12/13 WINNER - 2 p.m.
(7) Villanova vs. (10) Cincinnati - 7 p.m.
(6) Notre Dame vs. No. 11/14 WINNER - 9 p.m.
Thurs., March 14 - Quarterfinals (ESPN)
(1) Georgetown vs. No. 8/9 WINNER - Noon
(4) Pittsburgh vs. No. 5/12/13 WINNER - 2 p.m.
(2) Louisville vs. No. 7/10 WINNER - 7 p.m.
(3) Marquette vs. 6/11/14 WINNER - 9 p.m.
Fri., March 15 - Semifinals (ESPN)
Thursday afternoon winners - 7 p.m.
Thursday evening winners - 9 p.m.
Sat., March 16 - Final (ESPN)
Semifinals winners - 8:30 p.m.
Because play doesn't start this Tuesday, it starts NEXT Tuesday, March 12, there's still some shuffling that could happen before week's end. Here's what we know about the Big East Tournament seedings.
- Georgetown and Marquette have clinched a double-bye.
- Louisville can lockup a double-bye with a victory Monday over Cincinnati or a victory Saturday over Notre Dame.
- Pittsburgh lost to Notre Dame earlier in the season, so if the Panthers lose Saturday to DePaul and Notre Dame wins its last two games (St. John's, at Louisville) it could lose the double-bye.
- Syracuse can only earn a double-bye by: winning out and winning a three- or four-way tiebreaker with Pittsburgh, Notre Dame or Marquette. (Please, don't ask how that breaks down. Just plan on SU playing Wednesday.)
As of right now, it is a safe bet the Orange will earn the No. 5 or No. 6 seed. That means Syracuse's first BET opponents will likely to be Seton Hall, South Florida, Rutgers or DePaul.
A victory over either one of those teams will not help the Orange's NCAA Tournament seeding, but it could be another step in building up confidence heading into the NCAAs.
(Personally, at this point, I'd rather have that scenario happen rather than a double-bye and the team sitting around for a few days. The key to breaking out of this funk is playing and winning.)
If things stick and SU earns a No. 5 seed, and advances to Thursday, its opponent will be Pittsburgh (2 p.m.). Semifinal opponent will be either top-seeded Georgetown or whomever they lose to in the semifinals.
The opposite side of the bracket will feature Louisville or Marquette or whomever makes a miracle run on that side of the bracket.
So, if you'd like Syracuse to play Georgetown in the BET Finals, or play the late afternoon games (7 p.m. and 9 p.m.), root for them to get a No. 6 seed.
That route would feature Marquette in the quarterfinals; Louisville or whomever makes an upset run in the semifinals; and possible Georgetown, Louisville or miracleworker match up in the finals.
Get it? Got it? Good.