Syracuse currently sits at 12-5 overall and 3-3 in ACC play. If you want to dive even deeper, the Orange are 0-5 in Quad 1 games and 12-0 in everything else. Hate to break it to you, but that will not move the needle if SU wants to seriously be considered for the NCAA Tournament conversation. A win against Miami tomorrow won’t either, but then you can start to actually think about making it that far.
As we sit right now, Syracuse’s best wins have come at a neutral site against Oregon and on the road at Pittsburgh. They are both Quad 2 victories at the moment, and you can not bank on either of them moving up. The Ducks have been up and down in the NET rankings this year, and we can hope they move into the top 50 but there is certainly no guarantee. Meanwhile, the Panthers appear to be headed in the wrong direction with a sluggish start to conference play. There’s no guarantee that will still be considered even a “good” win come Selection Sunday. The point is, even if it’s not a Quad 1 victory, you need to win these games, because chances are they could become a bad loss.
Oregon and Pittsburgh are both solid teams, but neither of them hold the pedigree that Miami do. Even if the Ducks are currently ahead of the Hurricanes in NET rankings, you’re dealing with a team that at one point was number 8 in the country. Jim Larrañaga’s teams are always extraordinarily well coached, so much so that Miami went to its first Final Four in program history last year. Isaiah Wong may be gone, but the likes of Norchad Omier, Nijel Pack, Wooga Poplar, and Matthew Cleveland (Florida State transfer) have taken the reigns of a very sturdy ship. This is a talented roster from the top-down. Unlike Duke, North Carolina, or Virginia, Syracuse is getting Miami at home. It’s an opportunity that can’t be wasted.
Finally, the Hurricanes have OWNED the Orange over the last two seasons, in really rough fashion too. Miami has beaten SU in three straight meetings, and in all three of those meetings Syracuse held a 10+ point lead. Two 18 point collapses during the 2021-22 season, then a signature win snatched away just over a year ago in Coral Gables. One of the losses handed Jim Boeheim his only losing campaign, another sent his last year on a downward spiral that he wouldn’t recover from. This is not a team you want to lose to on your home court (again).
Tomorrow marks the Orange Out game in the Dome, so it’s being taken with plenty of seriousness. It’s one of the more marquee home games of the season for a team in need of some big-time wins. If Syracuse really wants to put itself on the map as a team with legitimate tournament hopes, it will beat Miami tomorrow.