After defeating NC State and losing on a last-second buzzer beater to Virginia, ESPN‚Äôs Joe Lunardi has SU as one of his last four teams into the NCAA Tournament. While a loss against the Cavs may seem like it would lower Syracuse‚Äôs Tournament hopes, Lunardi actually bumped SU up a spot after its strong Atlantic Coast Conference tournament play. However, with Syracuse now awaiting its destiny on Selection Sunday, there are teams still in conference tournaments, that could swipe a March Madness spot away from the Orange:
Lunardi currently lists the Rebels as one of his first four teams out, but Ole Miss is still in action in the SEC Tournament. After defeating South Carolina 76-59 in the second round of the SEC tourney, Kermit Davis‚Äô team takes on LSU tonight. The sixth seeded Rebels are 17-10 this season, and are on a three game winning streak (over Vanderbilt, Kentucky and South Carolina).
The Pirates are listed as one of Lunardi‚Äôs First Four Out along with Ole Miss, and take on Georgetown in the semifinals of the Big East tournament. 5th seeded Seton Hall pulled off a slight upset over 4th seeded St. John‚Äôs yesterday, essentially eliminating the Red Storm‚Äôs tournament aspirations while boosting its own. Meanwhile, the Hoyas shocker over Villanova yesterday makes Seton Hall‚Äôs path to March Madness much easier. A win for Seton Hall today would push the Pirates closer to the NCAA Tournament, but two more victories would lock its bid with a Big East tournament championship.
SMU is in the midst of a turbulent season, where the Mustangs missed its last six games, eventually playing just 15 regular season games. On Friday, SMU takes on Cincinnati in the quarterfinals. A win over Cincinnati would push SMU to the semifinals, where it would take on the winner of Wichita State vs South Florida. Both Wichita State and SMU are on the bubble with work to do. Both probably need a couple more wins to solidify its tournament berth. The worst case scenario in the AAC tournament for Syracuse, is for both teams to advance to the semifinals, while neither is crowned the AAC champion. That could create an opportunity for a seed stealer from a team like Memphis.
With conference tournaments still happening, there is still a lot up in the air before we truly know where Syracuse stands. For now, SU fans need to root against these teams, and keep a keen focus on the AAC tournament.