With Selection Sunday less than a week away, it is time to put some of Syracuse’s early non-conference opponents under the microscope. How will the Selection Committee view the Orange’s victories over then-No. 20 San Diego State University and Long Beach State University?
Syracuse had a convincing 62-49 victory over the Aztecs of San Diego State in its first game of the season. Despite the loss, the Aztecs started the year 14-2 which ascended the team to a rank of 16. However, SDSU struggled during Mountain West Conference play finishing with a 21-9 record overall, 9-7 in conference play.
Even with the tough finish to the season, San Diego State boasts a solid resume. Their quality wins over UCLA, Colorado State and New Mexico have led to a 30th rank in the RPI. As a result, SDSU is projected to get an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament, even if they do not win the Mountain West Tournament this week.
On Dec. 6, Syracuse beat up on Long Beach State University in a 84-53 drubbing. After making the NCAA Tournament last season, LBSU was projected to win the Big West going into the year. Even though the 49ers have not lived up to expectations this season, they are the Big West regular season champions.
While Long Beach played a tough non-conference schedule with games against Ohio State, Arizona, North Carolina and UCLA, they failed to get the signature wins necessary to get an at-large berth into this year’s dance. As a result, their Tournament hopes rest on winning the Big West Tournament which will tip on Thursday in Anaheim, CA. Long Beach State limps into their conference tournament losing three of their last four, but they have the fire power necessary to make a run as the No. 1 seed.
The Aztecs and 49ers did not do the Orange any favors with their late season struggles. However, if the 49ers are able to win their conference tournament, Syracuse will have two more quality wins against Tournament teams.