Syracuse Wins in Southerland Return, Where the Orange Sits in Bracketology

Getting back Big Game James rounds out the Orange in a critical way.

Syracuse takes care of business at the Dome, 77-58 over St. John’s. Let’s rip off the three biggest takeaways:

  • James Southerland makes a difference. 

Not breaking any new ground here, but the first game Big Game James stepped into he contributed. Southerland finished with 13 points, and stroked back-to-back 3-pointers in the second half. He never lacks for confidence either.

“I feel like I took a lot of pressure off the guys just being in uniform and playing, another impact during the game.”

You have to love that. My teammates were totally stressed out with me not in there. But I’m back, so they can return to just being comfortable. It’s obvious the Orange can make noise in March. Has there ever been a wackier season than this? SU has veterans (Triche, Fair), size (Rak), playmaking (MCW), and coaching. Now you add Southerland’s instant offense, and Syracuse has the parts to keep dancing.

  • This is the second year in a row an Orange gets suspended, then allowed back to the court.

(Edit: The original post suggested the Southerland issue was tied to the NCAA. This was an SU internal affair.)

Can someone tell me what in the name of Fab Melo is going on at the SU basketball offices? Why can’t the Orange stay out of the academic crosshairs? Last year Melo has to worry about an academic suspension, then finally returns, only to be tossed on the eve of the tourney. Now, Southerland has to sit out a handful of games midseason as well?

The Fizz noted the odd timeline of events, and wondered if SU is paranoid about policing everything academic because the NCAA was snooping around the Hill last year. Is there a loose ship? Did the NCAA make life hard on Jim Boeheim because Bernie Fine and failed drug test situations didn’t stick, now SU is going overboard trying to cross all the “t”s? Maybe it’s simply an individual issue with Southerland not getting the class work done, nothing more. It’s just aggravating watching the symmetry unfold after the Melo nonsense.

  • Syracuse is looking at a top 3 seed right now.

Plenty of basketball to be played, but SU just notched its 20th victory for the umpteen millionth time under The Per’fesser (20-3, 8-2).’s latest bracketology (before the St. John’s win) has the Orange as the 3-seed in Philly’s Midwest region taking on 14-seed Stony Brook (terrifying). has SU rated as the 7th best team in the country. There’s still four ranked teams left on the schedule, and a final trip to UConn is not going to be easy. But the way the Orange should be able to play with Southerland back, not to mention the return of Dajuan Coleman means SU should be sitting pretty for a top-3 seed in a few weeks.

Posted: D.A.

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