NCAA bid for Syracuse basketball is doable, but time is short

Joe Girard III Va Tech
Jan 8, 2020: Syracuse Orange guard Joe Girard III (11) looks to drive against Virginia Tech Hokies guard Nahiem Alleyne (4) during a 67-63 loss at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Initra Marilyn, The Juice Online.

As Syracuse enters the final 12 games of the regular season, its NCAA resume needs a lot of work. The Orange lacks a Quadrant 1 win, and is 0-3 in those games so far. Perhaps the most disappointing of those three games came on Monday in a 82-78 loss to Miami in a game in which Syracuse led for most of the second half.

It was a rare off night for Syracuse freshman point guard Judah Mintz, who had more turnovers (5) than points (3). It was also a struggle for freshman forward Chris Bell, who shot 1-6 from the field and also finished with 3 points. That’s the danger of relying on underclassmen in the middle of conference play.

Then again, so did the 2003 national championship team. We chatted with a member of that team, guard Andrew Kouwe, on this week’s The Juice on the Cuse Podcast to get his take on the Orange’s loss to Miami, the development of SU’s young players, and his take on if Syracuse can get to the NCAA Tournament.

While the loss to Miami was tough, Andrew did point out several positives from the game. The Orange played a competitive game against a top 20 team on the road, and but for Mintz’s struggles, Syracuse would’ve likely come away with a win. Stripping away Syracuse’s record, and taking into account the strides they’ve made over the season, Andrew also thinks the Orange is playing like an NCAA team.

» Related: Syracuse lets opportunity, and Miami, slip past

Afterward, editor in chief Brad Bierman calls in to break down Syracuse’s remaining 12 games. He calculates that the Orange should be favored to win in six of those games, and with conventional wisdom, Syracuse should finish with around 18 wins, which would leave them on the outside of the bubble looking in.

That said, SU still has several opportunities to beef up its resume, Brad says. Projected Quad 1 games include home games against Duke and No. 10 Virginia and road matchups at No. 19 Clemson at Pitt give the Orange opportunities to make a good case for the NCAA Tournament as the season heads into the final stretch.

You can listen to our whole conversation by following “The Juice on the Cuse Podcast,” a Syracuse Orange podcast, by subscribing to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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About Wes Cheng 2907 Articles
Wes has worked for covering the New York Knicks, as well as for covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also been a contributing writer for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), for SportsNet New York (SNY) as a news desk writer covering all of New York professional sports, 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 with a degree in journalism. Contact him at wes[at]