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1. How will SU do in the Big East tournament?
The seeds say Syracuse will play St. John’s Thursday afternoon in a 4-5 matchup. I’m interested to see how Syracuse handles St. John’s the second time around.
In the regular season meeting, the Orange beat the Red Storm by 17 on the very same Madison Square Garden floor. But, that was before Steve Lavin’s crew started taking the Big East by storm (sorry for the pun).
If Syracuse gets past St. John’s, it will meet up with No. 1-seeded Pittsburgh Panthers. There are a couple of very good teams currently in the Big East that I feel Syracuse has owned in recent history… Notre Dame and Georgetown come to mind.
On the flip side, there are teams recently that I feel have owned Syracuse… Louisville and Pittsburgh are examples.
So, going into a possible semifinal matchup against the Panthers leads me to believe that will be the final game for the Orange in the Big East Tournament.
However, seeing how the regular season unfolded, it would not surprise me to see a double-digit seed in the semifinals or finals at The Garden this weekend.
If one of those teams takes out Pitt, maybe Syracuse can advance further.
One of those double-digit seeds could be Seton Hall. Even after the first matchup against the Pirates this season, I was worried about that matchup.
Jeremy Hazell and Herb Pope scare me and they cause big-time matchup problems for Syracuse. The Pirates could upset the Orange again if they meet up in the Big East Tournament.
2. How far will the Orange go in the NCAA Tournament?
In regards to the NCAA Tournament, to borrow Dennis Green’s line, “They are who we thought they were.”
From preseason No. 13 to… uh… No. 13 as of this past weekend, the Orange is right back where it started the season.
At the beginning of the year, I and many others felt Syracuse was a Top 15 team. Maybe not the best, but certainly a viable team come March.
Here we are in March and I still feel the same way. SU will probably be a No. 3 or No. 4 seed when the brackets are announced this weekend.
And, to me, Syracuse is a Sweet 16 team.
I could envision the outcome being on either side of that prediction. SU could make a run deeper into the tournament based on its draw. Also, if the Orange doesn’t come to play one day, SU could go out in the first weekend.
Matt Dagostino is a Senior Columnist for The Juice Online. He is also a host on the “Young Guns” on Sports Talk 790 The Zone in Atlanta. See more at http://www.790thezone.com/youngguns/Matt Dagostino