Even after a two game losing streak, with losses to Louisville and Pitt, it still looked like the Orange would make the NCAA Tournament. And then SU went on to pick up a huge win over NC State, not that this was a win that would get Syracuse in, but it was a potential loss that could have kept the Orange out. Now with one regular season game plus the ACC Tournament remaining, what is left for the Orange to do to prove that it belongs in the NCAA Tournament?
I should reiterate that I think Syracuse is in the Tournament rather safely at this moment. But there is work to be done to turn “rather safely” into a relative lock. Right now, TeamRankings.com gives the Orange a 35.2% chance at reaching the Tournament, and puts them at a 9-seed. Basically, the Orange would need to be jumped by a handful of teams in the last week of games, which feels unlikely to happen. So how does the Orange strengthen its case?
It starts Saturday with a win at Florida State. This is another win that would not necessarily push the Orange into the Tournament on its own, but it would be a loss that wouldn’t help Syracuse’s cause. While Florida State is not necessarily a resume win, a win on Saturday would certainly help solidify Syracuse cases.
First, a win would be the 20th SU win of the season, typically a magic number when it comes to the Tournament. Second, it would also be the 10th ACC win for the Orange. That would guarantee Syracuse finishes above .500 in ACC play, including the ACC Tournament, again, typically a magic number when it comes to Tournament selection. That makes this an important game for the Orange. And luckily for SU, it comes against a team it has already beaten, and beaten pretty handily.
Saturday’s game is an important one when it comes to Syracuse’s Tournament standing because it is a chance to really lock up a position in the Big Dance, and it’s the first time the Orange can say it has that chance.
Posted By: Seth Goldberg