Syracuse basketball is still sitting comfortably for NCAA Tournament bid

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Syracuse center Paschal Chukwu goes up for a rebound against Duke. Mandatory Photo Credit: Kicia Sears, The Juice Online.

It’s no secret that Syracuse has been struggling as it finishes up its regular season. The Orange has lost three of its last four, and still has a Quad 1 game against Clemson on the road to close out ACC play.

But has Syracuse’s recent slide dropped the Orange down to bubble status?

The answer, in short, is no.

Part of the reason for this is a weaker bubble this year. Teams that are among ESPN bracketologist Joe Lundardi’s “Last Four In” or “Last Four Out” and “Next Four Out” all have deficiencies when lined up against Syracuse’s resume. Consider the following chart:

Team Overall Record NET RPI Q1 Record
Team 1 17-12 40 62 1-10
Team 2 24-6 44 56 1-5
Team 3 18-12 48 41 2-8
Team 4 18-11 56 48 2-8
Team 5 18-11 72 87 3-6
Team 6 19-11 39 38 3-7

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Now, what stands out about teams 1 and 2 is that both have lower RPIs in the 50s or 60s, and only one Quad 1 win despite the higher NET ranking. Meanwhile, teams 3 and 4 both have two Quad 1 wins, but still have RPIs in the 40s and NET rankings in the 40s and 50s. Team 5 obviously has the weakest resume of the bunch, with NET and RPI in the 70s and 80s despite the higher amount of Quad 1 wins.

Team 6 has by far the strongest resume, tied for the most Quad 1 wins while also having NET and RPI in the 30s, which none of the previous five teams had.

In case you haven’t been able to guess, Team 6 is Syracuse, and the other five teams are all bubble teams. Here’s how the chart looks with the team names:

Team Overall Record NET RPI Q1 Record
Clemson 17-12 40 62 1-10
Furman 24-6 44 56 1-5
TCU 18-12 48 41 2-8
Minnesota 18-11 56 48 2-8
Georgetown 18-11 72 87 3-6
Syracuse 19-11 39 38 3-7

Georgetown has the worst resume here and likely needs an upset (or two) in the Big East Tournament to move up. Clemson and Furman are in the Last Four Out, and are squarely along the bubble with TCU, who as of Tuesday is considered the last team in despite a loss to Kansas State on Monday. You also shouldn’t be overly impressed with Furman’s win total because they play in the Southern Conference.

Of this group, Minnesota is in the last four byes, which seems to make sense given that they are balanced in the 40s and 50s for NET and RPI, and also possess two Quad 1 wins.

Syracuse is generally predicted on the 8 or 9 line depending on what projection you look at, but the greater point is that they are not considered in danger, despite losing to three teams ranked in the top 5 (Duke, Virginia, North Carolina) in the last two weeks.

Quad 1 losses don’t hurt resumes too much, though they can greatly help them. And with three Quad 1 wins, and a potential fourth with Clemson on Saturday, the Orange is jockeying only for seeding, and not for a spot in the dance.

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Wes Cheng
About Wes Cheng 2460 Articles
Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.