With #3 Wisconsin’s loss to Indiana last night, the ranks of the unbeaten are down to a lonely three teams: Syracuse, Arizona and Wichita State. At some point, all three with fall. The road to an undefeated season is just too bumpy and filled with potholes and road blocks to make it through unscathed. There’s a reason that Hoosiers team of ’76 remains the last to do so. We’re on nearly 40 years of college hoops, and still it hasn’t been done since.
But #2 Syracuse has most definitely risen in the minds of many college basketball pundits as a legitimate contender to the national championship. Right now the college basketball betting odds say the Orange have some of the best as any team cutting down the nets in Dallas. SU will be on national television on most of its games for the rest of the season, at either CBS or one of the ESPN channels.
Some mock drafts project this year’s Orange squad as having potentially two lottery picks (Tyler Ennis and Jerami Grant), along with another possible first-rounder in C.J. Fair. Syracuse has continually produced lottery-caliber talent, but a roster with three potential first-rounders would be arguably Jim Boeheim’s most talented team in 25 years.
Syracuse is also getting high marks nationally for its ability to win a number of different ways. When it’s a drawn out, low scoring game SU has found ways to win like against Miami. In a high-scoring affair SU has beaten Villanova and Cal. On the road (Virginia Tech, St. John’s, BC) the Orange has also gotten it done.
Home-and-homes against Pitt and Duke will provide some stiff competition. Winning the ACC tournament in its first year is going to be a tall order (no one along Tobacco Road is going to want those Yankees from up north to come into Carolina and cut down the nets in their first go at it). But with its 17 wins already, Syracuse is finding that national love. And the best should be yet to come.