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Will the Orange dance? Our sports team debates SU's tournament fate

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They say in life there are two guarantees: death and taxes.

It seems for Syracuse fans nowadays there's a third guarantee: bubble talk in March. This year is no exception, with the fate of the 20-13 Orange once again uncertain on the day the tournament field will be decided.

Here's what the CNYCentral sports team thinks of Syracuse's tournament chances:

Sports Director Niko Tamurian: The Orange should be in


Will Syracuse make the tournament? It’s the hardest year to answer that question, perhaps ever.

Why?

Because there’s the new quadrant system in place for the first time ever and there simply isn’t any data to draw from regarding this. As Patrick Stevens, who creates bracketology reports for the Washington Post, tells me, anyone who claims to know how the committee will handle teams under this system simply isn’t correct because right now it’s impossible to know.

Back to the Orange, I think they should be in. But what I think and the committee does are quite possibly two different things.

This year’s resume is totally different from last year.

In 2017, SU had tons of quality wins but a lot of warts with bad losses and no quality road wins.

This year the Orange has quality road wins and no terrible losses. (Wake Forest and Georgia Tech are Quadrant 3—-not horrible but not good) the knock on SU is a lack of high end wins.

If the committee is consistent, that should allow SU to slide in. But when have they ever been?

I also caution you to avoid putting to much stock into mock brackets, so many teams they have considered locks are employing resumes that are incredibly similar to Syracuse and other bubble teams. To base what you think a team’s fate on a mock bracket or brackets can quickly become a fool’s errand. A team like Creighton is considered a lock, with an eerily similar resume to the Orange.

Who says they’re a lock? Mock brackets and that’s what everyone else is basing this on.

You must remember this is all resume driven and - while some like ESPN’s Joe Lunardi said on Twitter “They’re just not that good” regarding the Orange and why he hasn’t included them - the so-called "look test" is allegedly not a factor, it’s only the body of work and yet this prominent bracketologist is citing a non-factor as the reason he’s keeping them out.

Just look at the body of work and come to your own conclusion.

When it comes down to it I think there’s essentially three spots for six teams:

  1. Baylor
  2. Syracuse
  3. Arizona State
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Oklahoma State
  6. Louisville

If you’re asking me, I say it goes to Oklahoma, Syracuse and Oklahoma State.

I love Syracuse’s strength of schedule at 17 and the 20 wins earned from that. In fact, 6 of Syracuse’s 13 losses are against the top 6 teams in the RPI. That’s wildly tough!

Additionally, this team won on the road and has a feather in the cap with a top-ten RPI win over Clemson. Louisville meanwhile has not defeated a single team in the top 50 of the RPI, that’s a major difference.

The fact of the matter is that regardless of if they make it or not, the Orange has a resume that can stand against the rest of the bubble.

Additionally teams like Middle Tennessee and St. Mary’s feature only 2 Quadrant-One wins each.

Syracuse has 4.

What will happen:

Syracuse is in, selected to the First Four in Dayton.

I do not feel incredibly confident about this for all the reasons above. I am confident however with how Syracuse stacks up against the rest of the bubble but I’m unsure of how the committee will make its decisions.

I truly feel it’s a 50-50 tossup and SU fans (if you're reading this before 1 p.m. Sunday) should be rooting like crazy for Rhode Island to beat Davidson in the Atlantic 10 title game.

Weekend Sports Anchor Matt Hauswirth: The Orange are out


Due to upsets during conference championship week, I don’t think Syracuse will make the field of 68.

Yes, I believe the Orange have a better record than last year. Yes, I believe this team can do some damage in this year’s tournament. And, yes, I believe Syracuse will once again be the product of being one of the first teams out of the Big Dance for the second consecutive year.

Due to the extreme competitiveness that exists on the back-end of the NCAA Tournament bubble this year, Syracuse is being regarded as one of the first four teams out on several mock brackets. Sometimes it’s simply a year-by-year basis, meaning this year’s team more than likely would’ve made it last year due to a weak bubble. However, this year, an improved Syracuse team, in my opinion, won’t get in even though it’s improved.

Let’s be honest, none of us envy the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee. It’s a thankless job – and quite frankly a job where someone believes you’re wrong somewhere. With that said, conference tournament losses from teams like Middle Tennessee State out of Conference USA and Nevada in the Mountain West, two teams that were nearly shoe-in's to win their league tournaments, may very well earn at-large bids with solid overall records.

Additionally, Arizona State and Oklahoma are teams with much better wins than Syracuse, but have been dreadful over the last month of the season. Meanwhile, programs such as Texas, USC, UCLA and Louisville are being labeled as in the tournament over Syracuse [even though the Orange beat the Cardinals in Louisville for crying out loud]. It’s essentially like splitting hairs when debating between double-digit loss teams, but in the end, someone’s going to be left out.

It seems more than likely this year will once again include Syracuse, especially after the deep runs made by Providence and Alabama in their respective conference tournaments.

Nonetheless, it won’t surprise me if Syracuse finds its way into the Big Dance, but if it does, it will undoubtedly be in the play-in game in Dayton, Ohio.

The one thing Syracuse has going for it is a solid strength of schedule rating (17), which is the best of all the bubble teams this year. If the Orange make the cut, it’ll be because of that.

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