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Despite Loss To Pitt, Lunardi Still Has Orange In NCAA Tournament

Apparently, five wins in a row can cover up the mistakes made in Syracuse’s loss to Pitt over the weekend.

After the Orange’s win streak was snapped by Pittsburgh (who was 2-9 in conference play going into the game), much of Orange Nation thought the experts would stick Syracuse back on the outside looking in on the NCAA Tournament. Instead, bracketology guru Joe Lunardi kept the SU in the field of 68 in Monday’s bracket projection. In fact, Syracuse didn’t even drop down a spot.

Lunardi still has the Orange as an 11 seed, but has moved SU over to the Midwest Regional. If Lunardi’s bracket was official, Syracuse would play 6 seed SMU in the first round and could potentially face 3 seed Arizona in the round of 32. Those games would take place in Salt Lake City. Lunardi says the Orange is the last team in without a play-in game, making them the third team on the 11 line. That’s the same spot Syracuse was at on Friday before the loss at Pitt. CBS Sports says Syracuse is in the tournament team as well but has the Orange playing Providence in a play-in game.

Just about everyone thought a loss to Pitt would have Syracuse on the outside looking in, but the biggest name in bracketology says 8-5-in-the-ACC SU isn’t even hurt by it and it might make sense.  When you look at RPI, Pittsburgh isn’t a good loss or a bad loss. The Panthers are only 3-9 in ACC play, but have wins over Virginia and Maryland and are No. 54 in RPI (better than the Orange’s No. 70, by the way). Plus, Syracuse already beat Pittsburgh earlier in the season in the Carrier Dome. Losing in the Oakland Zoo didn’t hurt the Orange all that much.

If a loss to a 2-9 ACC team doesn’t hurt Syracuse, then what will? Does SU have to beat another ranked team this season? Will two wins over Georgia Tech be enough to punch a ticket on Selection Sunday? Lunardi’s newest bracket should be a sigh of relief for Syracuse fans, but it makes the checklist for the rest of the season even more unclear.

Moral of the story: stop crying wolf, Syracuse fans. With the way this season started, I can’t blame you for having PTSD after every Orange loss, but at least try to keep it together long enough for the experts on the TVs to tell you what it means.

Posted: Nathan Dickinson

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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