Syracuse got its first conference win on Wednesday night as the Orange beat Boston College behind a stellar defensive performance and the Orange have to carry that momentum into the toughest part of its schedule. Granted, B.C. is not a good team, but giving up 40 points in one game, and holding a team to 15 in the first half, is always an accomplishment. Not to mention, the strong performance of DaJuan Coleman is a good sign.
Syracuse hits the road for three games beginning with a trip to Wake Forest on Saturday. It only gets tougher from there as Syracuse then travels to Duke and Virginia. Though both of these teams have suffered surprising defeats recently, to think that they are not very good teams would be foolish. Anyway you look at it, the Orange will be heavy underdogs.
This makes the game against Wake Forest all the more important. Syracuse is 1-4 in the ACC and desperately needs a couple of big wins to turn this season around.
Obviously there is no official number of wins that is needed to make the big tournament, but based on the past and Syracuse’s non-conference schedule, 9 wins seems like the number that would give Syracuse a legitimate chance to make the big dance. If that is true, Syracuse needs to go 8-5 the rest of the way, which is certainly possible.
However, losing two out of three on this road trip would drop them to 2-6 in conference play, forcing them to go 7-3 the rest of the way. However, if the Orange pull off the win against Wake and then a big upset of the road, things are looking up. The Orange would then be 3-5 in conference play with the toughest part of the schedule out of the way.
As for the chances of the Orange winning two out of the next three, it is impossible to say. This team has been streaky to say the least, winning its first six and then dropping its first four conference games. Down in Atlantis, the Orange proved they could compete with some good teams but in recent weeks, they haven’t really competed with anyone.
The next week will tell a lot about what this team actually is. By next weekend, Syracuse’s season could be essentially over, or they could be riding some incredible momentum as they return home. Winning two out of the next three games could not only keep the Orange alive this season but also give the team a huge boost going forward.