If you recall, Syracuse was supposed to battle Louisville back on Wednesday, February 3rd. That game was postponed as Cardinals Head Coach, Chris Mack, tested positive for COVID-19. The first game Mack’s team will play coming out of that COVID pause is opposing Syracuse on the 17th. Here are a couple ways to look at the game from SU’s perspective:
A Win is Huge:
Many teams this season have felt the effects of a COVID pause. Not being able to be on the court practicing near the end of the regular season can really set a team back. Just take a look at Clemson. The Tigers were 9-1 and strong after a January 5th win over NC State, then COVID hit. Clemson was ranked 19th in the country when it was taken off the court. When Brad Brownwell’s squad returned, they just weren’t the same. The Tigers suffered three straight losses, all of which were of around 20 points or more. A team that was once ranked top 20 in the country couldn’t hang with conference opponents. Louisville has suffered a similar adversity. In a time where the Orange really need it, they could get lucky. It’s no secret SU hasn’t set the ACC on fire this season, so with an opportunity for a quad 1 win on Wednesday in the KFC Yum Center, the Orange will look to take advantage of the Cardinals lack of practice.
A Loss is Insurmountable:
As stated, Louisville will have been deprived of practice when it faces Syracuse on Wednesday. With the Orange NCAA Tournament hopes fleeting fast, a loss here could all but seal their fate in the NIT. Sure as aforementioned, Louisville is a quad 1 opponent, but a loss here to a team coming off a COVID break would look TERRIBLE. The SU resume is already pretty lacking, add a loss here, it’s hard to get much worse.
A win is huge for Syracuse, a loss is just as impactful the other way. This is a must-win game for the Orange.