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Five Games That Kept Syracuse Out of March Madness

It’s been an action-packed first day-plus of March Madness, yet it’s hard to not wish for Syracuse to be playing in the best postseason tournament in all of sports. For all the bright spots the Orange had in year 1 of the Adrian Autry era, there were plenty of lows. Here are five head-scratching moments that have SU watching this year’s Big Dance from the couch.

NOVEMBER 14- Syracuse 79, Colgate 75

Yes, Syracuse won this game, but the fashion in which it upended Colgate wasn’t exactly appealing. The Orange needed to rally back from 24 points down to topple the Raiders and avoid a third loss in as many meetings. And whether it’s fair or not, NET rankings favor blowout victories, especially when they come against low to mid-major schools, regardless of whether they’re a perennial NCAA Tournament team. That’s a game SU should, on paper, have won handily.

JANUARY 23- Florida State 85, Syracuse 69

One game removed from Quadir Copeland’s buzzer beater, things were starting to look up for fans until FSU came to town. The Seminoles had size and athleticism the Orange didn’t appear prepared for, and a team that lost to Lipscomb earlier this year picked up a rather convincing victory inside the Dome. Two games after beating Syracuse, Florida State went down to Louisville and lost (both of the Orange’s games against the Cardinals could be considered honorable mentions). Odds are high you’re not going to win every conference game home or away, but losing by that margin to a team that barely scraped a winning record isn’t a good look.

JANUARY 30- Boston College 80, Syracuse 75

Syracuse entered this matchup having won 11 straight against Boston College and looked poised to do so again after building a decent-sized lead. But the Eagles rattled off 21 straight points from the end of the first half into the beginning of the second. BC was no scrub of a team this year, but having little brother knock you down like that has to be demoralizing. It very clearly rubbed off on the Orange prior to their next game…

FEBRUARY 3- Wake Forest 99, Syracuse 70

“I’d like to apologize to our fans, our university for that performance, it’s unacceptable, won’t be tolerated.” Those were the words out of Autry’s mouth in the wake of that game. And that’s pretty accurate. Wake Forest did whatever it wanted against Syracuse. The Orange had gotten blown out by sizable margins a few times, but the Demon Deacons did not have the pedigree of any of the teams that had done it previously.

FEBRUARY 17- Georgia Tech 65, Syracuse 60

This list went in order by when the game was, but even if it didn’t this one would take the cake. SU was coming off a potential season-changing upset victory over North Carolina, and responded by laying a massive egg against one of the ACC’s worst in Georgia Tech. Even though the Orange won four in a row afterwards, the loss to the Yellow Jackets sucked the life out of the fanbase, bracketologists, and tournament committee.

Could’ve, would’ve, should’ve. But if these five games had gone a little differently, not even necessarily changing the win or loss mark, Syracuse might’ve heard its name on Selection Sunday.

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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