National experts on Bubble Patrol will have extra interest around CNY over the next two weeks. How much work needs to be done by SU in the regular season? How much will be left to do at Barclay’s in the ACC Tournament? Eamonn Brennan put it this way:
“Syracuse [16-11 (8-6), RPI: 76, SOS: 58] On Monday, with 39 seconds remaining in overtime, Louisville led Syracuse 71-63. Anyone who thought the game was over at that point hasn’t been paying attention. Since last season’s Final Four run, Syracuse has basically been one walking comeback for the past calendar year. It was honestly surprising that the Orange didn’t finish the job on Monday — though, of course, they cut the Cardinals’ lead to two a mere 24 seconds later. (Rick Pitino slapped a water bottle like 30 feet. It was hilarious.) Jim Boeheim’s team ended up losing its second straight game, but the five-game win streak that preceded it made a minor “dip” (if it can even be called that) totally workable. Rationally speaking, the Orange aren’t totally safe bubble-wise. But we wouldn’t bet against them.”
We, of course, know SU isn’t “totally safe bubble-wise.” This is the good news: Duke is a lock for the tourney, and any win over the Dookies comes with an inordinate amount of attention and national cred. So that’s a huge chance to stamp another big win onto the resume, plus it’s at the Dome. Louisville is also a cinch to make the Big Dance, so having another crack at the Cards is a terrific chance as well. That one is on the road, though. If SU wins both, the Orange have punched its ticket.
Georgia Tech is in the same boat at SU: Needing multiple big wins down the stretch to get in. If SU wins both of these games against Tech, it won’t be enough. They’ll need EITHER a) one win over Duke or UofL or b) a decent win in the ACC Tourney.
Worse case scenario: Syracuse only beats Tech at home, and loses the other three games. Then there would need to be a serious run at Barclay’s to get into the Field of 68.