Understandably, all of the talk following Syracuse’s memorable win over Duke is about whether or not the Orange have done enough to lock in their berth into the NCAA tournament. However, there is a tournament that comes before the Big Dance, and it is one that Syracuse is guaranteed to participate in. The ACC Tournament technically kicks off on Tuesday March 7th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Theoretically, the Orange could start their ACC tournament run as late as Thursday March 9th as the top four teams in the ACC get a “double-bye”. Syracuse currently sits in 7th in the conference but get this, there is a five way tie for second place and Syracuse is only a game and a half behind. So the Orange would have to win their last two games– a tall order but not impossible — if they want that coveted double bye. It is important to remember that everyone plays everybody in the last few games so it is possible that the Orange sneak into the top four.
With that said, the most likely scenario is that the Orange finish somewhere between fifth and ninth in the conference and will play their first game on Wednesday. If the Orange finish as the five, eight or the nine seed, they will play in the afternoon session on Wednesday. The nine and the eight seeds square off at noon (like the Orange did against Pitt last season) and the five plays the winner of the 12-13 game at two o’clock. If the Orange finishes as the six or the seven seed they will play in the night session on Wednesday.
Two teams only sit one-half game behind the Orange. Virginia Tech and UVA are both 8-7 and Syraucse would hold the tiebreaker over the Cavs but not the Hookies, by virtue of their head-to-head match-ups. Syracuse would have to lose out to slip in the standings enough to play on Tuesday.
I will be in Brooklyn for the ACC tournament, providing complete coverage of Syracuse’s quest to lock down an NCAA tournament bid. If you want to check out the complete bracket and set up for the ACC tournament, check out the tournament’s website.