Let’s be honest here — things are bleak in Syracuse right now. The Orange are below .500 more than halfway through the season. This is just not the SU way. Jim Boeheim has created a winning culture where you expect to make the NCAA Tournament. Syracuse has made the tourney in four of the last five years. Right now it seems like it’s going to be four of the last six by the end of this season.
According to TeamRankings, the Orange currently only have a 4.3% chance of making the tournament. In order to do that, Syracuse is going to need to go on a pretty big run. What exactly do the Orange need to do to make the tournament? Let’s break it down.
Right now, Syracuse only has one Quad 1 win, one Quad 2 win and one Quad 3 win. The Orange have nine losses in those three quadrants. So, SU doesn’t have any resume as of now.
Syracuse has 14 games remaining — four Quad 1 games, three Quad 2 games and seven Quad 3 games.
|Quad 1||Quad 2||Quad 3|
|@ Duke – 1/22||vs. Wake Forest – 1/29||vs. Clemson – 1/18|
|@ Virginia Tech – 2/12||@ NC State – 2/2||@ Pittsburgh – 1/25|
|vs. Duke – 2/26||@ Notre Dame – 2/22||vs. Louisville – 2/5|
|@ North Carolina – 2/28||@ Boston College – 2/8|
|vs. Boston College – 2/19|
|vs. Georgia Tech – 2/21|
|vs. Miami – 3/5|
Granted, many of these teams will go up and down. So, these quads are not etched in stone, but let’s play a hypothetical with these current standings.
Of the seven Quad 3 games, Syracuse will need to win at least five of them. This goal is actually pretty attainable. Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech and two games versus Boston College are all very winnable. Then, SU will just need to beat Miami, Clemson or Louisville, which are all comparable teams are are all games in the Dome.
Of the three Quad 2 games, you’d really hope the Orange could win two of them. Wake Forest at home is absolutely a winnable game. Then, Notre Dame and NC State are both solid teams, but easily could be Syracuse wins. If SU gets two in Quad 2, they will be looking good.
Of the four Quad 1 games, Syracuse NEEDS to win at least one, if not two. These are the resume building games that could jolt the Orange up the standings. Playing Duke twice is a tough draw. However, Virginia Tech could be a win if Syracuse plays up to its potential. North Carolina is a really solid team too.
So, if you add all that up, Syracuse has to go 8-6 in the very least, and then get a win or two in the ACC Tournament. You could even say the Orange need to go at least 9-5 or 10-4 in the regular season and then add an ACC win.
The difficult part about Syracuse’s remaining schedule is it has a lot of easy opponents, which can lead to wins, but those wins don’t hold as much weight on a tournament resume.
While this hypothetical is dandy on paper, executing it is a whole other issue. Syracuse has a lot of problems it needs to figure out if it wants to consistently win. However, we all know to never count of the Orange when March comes closer.