Here are the results of games from Monday night that will affect Syracuse’s NCAA Tournament hopes and what those effects are:
Valparaiso forced overtime with less than a second to go against Green Bay, but got blitzed early in the extra session, falling by a 99-92 score. A loss in the semifinals to a team sporting a #140 RPI will likely send Valpo to the NIT and make the Horizon Conference’s automatic bid their only one. No real change to the Orange hopes here.
Iona edged Monmouth late, 79-76. That did not help Syracuse at all, as Monmouth is possibly good enough to get an at-large bid. The Hawks entered the day with an RPI of 45, two wins over top-50 RPI teams (Notre Dame, USC), and four against top-100 teams. Monmouth’s strength of schedule, ranked 176, will hurt them, as will three losses to teams with 200+ RPI.
Saint Mary’s jumped all over Pepperdine early then held off a second half rally to win, 81-66. That win essentially guarantees the Gaels an NCAA bid, regardless of what happens in the WCC title game.
And speaking of the WCC title game, Gonzaga will be there again, having beaten BYU, 88-84. This one hurts the Orange a little, as Gonzaga is now a threat to pocket an at-large bid.
Sticking with our previous format, the focus is on the updated 8-12 seeds and teams listed as the eight closest, but not in, the tournament in Joe Lunardi’s current field at ESPN.com. Here is this morning’s update:
- 8 seeds – Saint Mary’s, South Carolina, Wichita State, Providence
- 9 seeds – Colorado, Vanderbilt, Cincinnati, Butler
- 10 seeds –Pittsburgh, USC, VCU, Saint Joseph’s
- 11 seeds – Temple, Connecticut/St Bonaventure, Syracuse/Monmouth, San Diego State
- 12 seeds –Northern Iowa, Arkansas-Little Rock, Akron, Yale (automatic bid)
- first four out – Oregon State, Gonzaga, Tulsa, Florida,
- next four out – Valparaiso, Michigan, Ohio State, George Washington
The West Coast championship game between St. Mary’s and Gonzaga (9:00pm Eastern, ESPN) is the only game tonight that will affect the Orange’s NCAA hopes and it should be a very good one. St. Mary’s swept the Zags during the regular season and, if they make it three in a row tonight, that may knock Gonzaga out of the NCAA picture. Pull for the Gaels tonight, Syracuse fans.
Tuesday is the last day of the week where Syracuse fans will need caffeinated beverages, but that is only if you are interested in staying up late for the lone game that affects the Orange’s chances. Starting Wednesday, everything will get crazy.