Every college basketball team has at least one goal to begin the year, make the NCAA tournament. For Syracuse, that’s been a difficult task for the last half-decade. Bubble team after bubble team, 1st round exits and pure frustration have struck this program. This year it’s no different.
It’s apparent that at this point Syracuse won’t be receiving an invite to the big dance. The Orange are 10-6 overall, 4-5 within the ACC. If SU is to move on it will need to pick up some big wins, specifically Quadrant 1 wins. In case you were unaware, Quadrant wins are based upon an opposing team’s NET ranking and whether that team is being played at home, away, or a neutral site. If Syracuse beats a team at home against opponents ranked between No. 1 and No. 30 in the NET, it counts as a Quad 1 win, it counts the same if SU beats opponents ranked No. 1 through No. 50 at a neutral venue or against a top-75 opponent on the road.
So far this year, The Orange have had 5 chances at Quad 1 wins, all of which they lost. The most recent was the devastating defeat to Clemson. Left on the schedule are 3 more opportunities. Here’s the catch, they’re all away. The Orange would have to beat Louisville, Duke, and Georgia Tech on the road to really beef up their resume.
It hurts that the win hosting Virginia Tech doesn’t count as Quad 1, as at the time the Hokies were ranked 36th in NET, but at the same time it wouldn’t have made much difference. With that good win came a slew of bad ones, notably both suffered opposing Pittsburgh, and the two blowouts at the hands of Virginia and Clemson respectively.
To answer the question: Doubtful. You almost assuredly won’t see the Orange in the tournament this season. All SU fans can hope for, is that this team has a fire lit under it next season, and comes to play.
The NC State game on Tuesday should be telling for the rest of the season. The Orange downed the Wolfpack by just three to cap off January, they’ll need to provide a stronger performance than that one to come away with the same result away from the Dome.