One of every sports fan’s favorite games is that “what if” game. Syracuse fans are now thinking what would have happened if the Orange was not banned from this year’s post season.
On Tuesday, Syracuse picked up another impressive win over a ranked team when they downed Notre Dame. Of course, this does not help the Orange in terms of the post-season because Syracuse self-imposed a post-season ban earlier this month.
However, many Orange fans are left wondering if this team would make the NCAA tournament if they were eligible. As of today, it would be really close. Joe Lunardi, the “bracketology” guru for ESPN has six ACC teams making the tournament and Syracuse is in sixth in the ACC. This would suggest that the Orange would have a very realistic chance at the tournament.
Some don’t bother with this hypothetical situation because it will always be just that – hypothetical. However, building a tournament resume this season could have an impact on the future of the Syracuse program.
It stands to reason that if the Orange provide a tournament resume this year, the NCAA would view their self-imposed punishment as more sufficient. Initially much of the reaction to the ban is that Syracuse did it because they would not qualify for the tournament anyway. Now, with two huge wins under their belt, the Orange look as if they might actually be punishing themselves with the post-season ban.
It is possible the NCAA will now see the punishment as significant enough and they may choose not to levy any more sanctions.
Also, showing the heart and resiliency necessary to make this team into a team that would play in the NCAA tournament could help bring in recruits. Every Syracuse fan still has their eyes on All-American Thomas Bryant.
Bryant is deciding between Syracuse, Indiana, Kentucky and Kansas among others big-name schools. The other three schools will be in March Madness this year and it can only help if Syracuse can claim that – if it were not for the sanctions – they would be there too.
Obviously, the question of whether or not they would actually make the tournament can be debated. If the season ended today, the Orange would be right on the bubble and being able to say that is a big improvement over where this team was one month ago.
Posted: Logan Grossman