If you asked any Syracuse Basketball fan before the season began what they thought the Orange’s record would be after ten games, they wouldn’t have said 5-5. Yet, that is where SU is. After some disappointing losses, namely to Colgate, Georgetown and VCU, Syracuse’s NCAA Tournament resume is already hurting.
Yes, it is only December, but it’s never too early to check on the resume, especially with a lackluster start. So, let’s examine it.
In Jim Boeheim’s 46 years of coaching at Syracuse, his team has only lost five non-conference games before league-play twice. It happened in 2016-17, where SU went on to finish 19-15 overall and miss the NCAA Tournament. Now, it has happened again, and there are still two more non-con games that could trip up the Orange.
Two of Syracuse’s losses so far are warranted. Auburn is the No. 13 team in the country and has only lost once. Villanova has three tallies in the loss column, but the Wildcats are still No. 9 in the AP Top-25 poll. Those are two Quad 1 losses that are expected and won’t hurt the resume much.
What will hurt Syracuse are the other three losses. VCU is 6-4 so far and is 74 in the NET rankings. Colgate is 4-7, ranks 178 in the NET, and has some bad losses to Niagara, Cornell and Pittsburgh. Georgetown also has some horrible losses, including Dartmouth and Saint Joseph’s. The Hoyas are 5-4 and 172 in the NET.
While those teams could improve, it is pretty likely that the bracketologists will look back on those losses and see them as damning for Syracuse.
Right now, Syracuse sits at 126 in the NET rankings with no Quad 1 wins and a loss in each quadrant. The Orange are 0-2 in Quad 1, 2-1 in Quad 2, 1-1 in Quad 3, and 2-1 in Quad 4. That won’t cut it, and Boeheim knows that.
“We’re not playing it good enough,” Boeheim said after the Georgetown loss. “We’re not physical enough. We’ve got to be better defensively. Bottom line.”
There is plenty of time to fix the resume, 21 games and 90 days to be exact. However, the Orange can’t just hope things turn around. The rebounding has been atrocious, the offense stalls when Buddy or Jimmy start missing, and the defense is middle of the pack.
Syracuse can rewrite its resume over the coming months, but it better change drastically and it better happen quickly.