For the third straight year, Syracuse basketball fans will likely find themselves sweating it out on Selection Sunday. As of right now, Joe Lunardi has Syracuse in a play in game as an 11 seed in his latest bracketology despite a less-than-stellar start to conference play. However, then again Lunardi has misfired on picking the Orange the past two years so take that as you may. Regardless, let’s breakdown SU’s current resume compared to last year.
Quality Wins: Buffalo, UCONN, Maryland
That really is the best I could come up with. SU is currently 0-5 vs KPI Top 50 teams.
Bad Losses: St. Bonaventure, @Wake Forest
This is one of the strongest parts of SU’s current resume. However, it should be taken with a grain of salt because reports indicate that the selection committee doesn’t focus on the RPI as much as they used to. Many analytical experts think the RPI is outdated because it doesn’t factor in margin of victory/loss or injuries. That being said, having a good RPI couldn’t hurt and 36 is way better than the 85 RPI rating Syracuse had at the end of the season last year.
While SU’s RPI rating was awful last year, it’s BPI of 35 was a strength. This year, Syracuse’s current ranking of 53 puts them right around fellow bubble teams like USC, Penn State and St. Bonaventure (sorry for bringing up a sore subject). Unlike RPI, the BPI does take injuries into account, therefore, the Notre Dame loss at home hurt SU’s ranking more.
Strength of Record: 54
This is one of the big holes in SU’s current resume. The Orange just don’t have many quality wins to its name. The Georgetown road win just keeps looking less and less impressive. The Hoyas couldn’t stay on the floor with Villanova in a 32-point home loss the other night and have looked lost since actually starting to play division one competition. Syracuse desperately needs to add a couple quality road wins soon because that’s what left them on the cutting room floor last year.
In today's edition of #Bracketology, ESPN's Joe Lunardi has Syracuse barely sneaking into the NCAA Tournament as an 11-seed.
Do you think the Orange makes the Big Dance this year?
— Orange Fizz (@OrangeFizz) January 18, 2018
Despite the rough start to conference play, I disagree with Fizz nation and think Syracuse returns to the dance this March. I expect SU to take advantage of its easy stretch of ACC play over the next week or so and finish above 500 in conference play. If Syracuse does that, and picks off one or two “upset” wins, like a home game against Virginia or North Carolina it should find itself on the right side of the bubble this year.