Syracuse’s fate is completely out of its own hands. The Orange will now have to rely on other bubble teams stumbling and the Selection Committee valuing their big wins more than their terrible losses. So, if you are a Syracuse fan, who should you be rooting for, or perhaps more appropriately, against during the final two days of conference tournament action?
Rhode Island vs Davidson: Atlantic 10 Semi-Finals
This is a bit of weird one. Rhode Island picked up a big win over St. Bonaventure in the A-10 quarterfinals on Friday and many believed that that was enough to lock up the Rams spot in the big dance. However, some experts, including ESPN’s Joe Lunardi still have the Rams on the outside looking in. Davidson, Rhode Island’s opponent on Saturday is nowhere near the bubble at the moment. So, with that said, perhaps Syracuse fans should root for Davidson to give the committee more to think about with Rhode Island. If Davidson does advance, Syracuse fans should definitely be rooting for VCU to win the Atlantic 10. VCU is comfortably into the big dance already and Syracuse fans do not want another A-10 team taking that conference’s automatic bid. The VCU Rams are in action against Richmond in the other A-10 semi-final today.
Vanderbilt vs Arkansas: SEC Semi-Finals
Vanderbilt picked up a massive win on Friday night when they knocked of Florida for the third time this season. It is likely that the Commodores are now into the Dance, regardless of their result against the Razorbacks on Saturday afternoon. However, Arkansas is even more comfortably in the tournament than Vanderbilt is. If you want to pick a team that is more likely to get robbed on Selection Sunday, it is Vanderbilt, so root for the Razorbacks.
Duke vs Florida State: ACC Championship
Obviously, the ACC Tournament did not go the way that Syracuse fans were hoping for. However, a small silver lining is that Duke roared back to knock off UNC in the ACC semi-final and advance to the ACC Championship game. The perfect ACC Championship game would have included Florida State, but that was not to be. Duke will take on Notre Dame in Brooklyn tonight and while this game likely does not have a tremendous impact on the Orange, Syracuse fans should, in theory, root for Duke to snag the ACC crown and make that win in late February look even better. So, if you can stomach it, root for the Blue Devils.
The Orange got some help on Friday with seven “bubble teams” falling in their respective conference tournaments. Syracuse fans are in for a long 24-plus hours this weekend but finding the right teams to root for and against may ease the pain, if only slightly.