It is something that the Syracuse basketball team has been talking about for the last couple of weeks, and really ever since the self-imposed ban was put in place. The Orange wanted to prove that it would be a tournament team even though it would not be allowed to play in the NCAA Tournament.
At first it looked like a long road ahead, the Orange had just come off a win against Virginia Tech, but not many had believed this team would actually make a run to the tourney. The team then followed it up with a loss at Pittsburgh and a win at Boston College. After that, the Orange could have easily folded and lost every game with a very tough stretch on the schedule.
However, after wins against No. 12 Louisville and No. 9 Notre Dame, it begs the question, would this team have been tournament worthy if it were eligible?
The answer is…. Well, we don’t know. Right now, the Orange sits at 18 wins, and likely would be firmly on the bubble somewhere between “Last 4 in” and “First 4 out.” But if the Orange could win two of its last three games against Duke, Virginia and NC State, the team would probably make it to the Big Dance.
More importantly than whether this team would have made the tournament, is it important for the team to consider itself a “tournament team?”
Honestly, no. It shouldn’t matter whether this team would have made the tournament, because at they can try all they want but Trevor Cooney, Michael Gbinije, Rakeem Christmas and the rest of the Orange will not be playing in the NCAA Tournament this year.
It is great if the Orange can finish the year strong and give the team some positive thoughts and momentum heading into the offseason, but it shouldn’t matter if the Orange would or would not have made the NCAA Tournament. It isn’t something that players, coaches or fans should really look to or point to as an accomplishment this season because at the end of the day, we don’t know whether the team would make the Tournament or not. All we know is that when they were banned, the Orange sat firmly on the bubble and could have been in or out. We don’t know anything more now.
Posted: Seth Goldberg