Syracuse is sitting firmly on the bubble of the NCAA tournament and it is somewhat unfamiliar territory. Last season, Syracuse fans knew the Orange were not going dancing because the school self-imposed a post-season ban and the few years prior the Orange were comfortably in the tourney.
This year, every game is crucial and Orange fans are sure to be scoreboard and standings watching as the season comes down the home stretch. So, let’s take a look at where the “experts” see Syracuse in terms of the NCAA tournament ahead of a couple of big games this week.
Joe Lunardi, ESPN
The so-called bracketology guru releases his projected bracket with increasing frequency as the tournament approaches. His most recent bracket, published on February 8th, has Syracuse playing in a dreaded “First Four” game against Seton Hall in Dayton, Ohio to get into the field of 64. The winner of that game, according to Lunardi, would drop into the Midwest region and play Baylor as an 11 seed. The one seed in that region is Iowa.
Jerry Palm, CBS Sports
This projection is certainly more favorable to Syracuse as is slated as a 10 seed, avoiding the play-in game. The Orange would play South Carolina in the round of 64 and play the winner of Villanova and UNC Ashville and the next round. Palm has the Orange in the East region and like Lunardi, has Iowa as the one seed in their region.
So what does all of this mean and why should Syracuse fans care? Well, it shows that, as of now, it sure seems like the Orange are a tournament team, which has to be the ultimate goal. However, it also shows that the Orange have plenty of opportunity to climb up the bracketology ladder.
Syracuse has seven games left and, because of a front-loaded schedule, the Orange have to feel that four wins is the goal. Syracuse plays Florida State home and away, Pitt and NC State at home and UNC, Louisville and B.C. on the road. If Syracuse can grab four of its last seven games, the Orange will finish the season at 10-8 in the conference and will certainly be sitting more comfortably on the inside come Selection Sunday.
Things can and almost certainly will change, but Syracuse has to feel that their tournament odds are looking a lot brighter than they were just a few weeks ago.