After Saturday’s huge win against Clemson, Syracuse was able to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive for at least another couple of days. The win fulfilled SU’s need for a marquee win (the Tigers were ranked 18th in the country after all) and made the Orange’s resume look a whole lot better than it would have been with a loss. Obviously, there’s still some work to do (like actually winning a game in the ACC tournament), but predicting where teams will end up comes with the territory of being in the month of March. With that being said, let’s take a look at what some of those so-called “experts” are saying about SU’s tournament chances.
CBS’s Jerry Palm: In as an 11-seed, plays Texas in First Four matchup
One of the pioneers of bracketology, Jerry Palm is probably higher than just about anyone on Syracuse’s chances to make it to the Big Dance. The fact that he is so high on SU and he still thinks it has to win a play-in game to get into the field of 64 says a lot. Palm says beating Wake Forest in the first round of the ACC tournament is a “must” for SU to make the field and that it still might have to beat UNC in round two to get in which is a tall task to say the least. Palm’s predicted matchup versus Texas could also be a problem for SU considering the Orange has limited frontcourt talent and depth and the Longhorns feature one of the best young big men in the country in Mohamed Bomba.
SB Nation’s Chris Dobbertean: First Eight Out
Unlike the classic first four out, next four out that many people are used to hearing/reading, Dobbertean uses a full eight-team out scenario in his bracket predictions and Syracuse is at the top of the list. That means, like last year, SU would be the first team to miss the tournament and would likely be a one-seed in the NIT. Dobbertean says Syracuse was the big winner of the weekend with the win over Clemson and that the Orange’s chances could easily change with a win over Wake Forest on Tuesday and a good showing against North Carolina on Wednesday.
Yahoo’s Brad Evans: First Four Out
According to bracketmatrix.com, a website that ranks how accurately experts predict brackets, Brad Evans of Yahoo is a top-60 bracket predictor in the country and, like many other experts, he has SU on the outside looking in of the tournament field. According to some of his tweets, the biggest reason Evans doesn’t have the Orange as a part of the Big Dance is because of its lack of Quadrant I wins. The quadrant system is a new metric for the committee to judge teams on this season and places wins in four different quadrants according to opponent’s RPI and where the game was played (home, road, neutral site). The Orange only has three Quad I wins this season, while other bubble teams like Marquette, Texas and LSU have five or six.
Bracketville: In as a 12-seed, play Alabama in First Four matchup
While Evans is ranked in the top 60 among bracket experts, the people of bracketville.com are the most accurate bracket predictors in the country according to Bracket Matrix. The fact that they have SU in the tournament should come as a welcome sign for Orange fans. The first round matchup, however, is unfortunate for Syracuse. Alabama is a pretty talented team that has fallen on hard times of late (lost 7 of last 8), but it does have another one of the nation’s best freshman in guard Collin Sexton.
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi: Not even on the bubble
When you think of bracketologists, the first person that probably comes to mind is probably Joey Brackets. He’s become the face of the bracketology movement and even though he’s not terribly accurate in predicting teams’ fates, it should be a little worrisome that SU isn’t even on his radar considering he does a last four byes, last four in, first four out and next four out. Lunardi has a team Syracuse beat in the tournament (Louisville) as well as a team the Orange lost to in St. Bonaventure. Another Syracuse loss (Notre Dame) is in Lunardi’s next four out. To be fair to the Orange though, Lunardi has gotten SU’s place in the tournament wrong each of the last two years so ESPN’s resident expert certainly isn’t the be all end all of Syracuse’s chances.