Sunday, March 13, 2016
Syracuse made the tournament by the skin of their collective teeth (though not one of the last four at-large team) despite being the lowest rated team in the RPI (#72) to ever receive an at-large berth. I don't agree with the decision and thought a bunch of horrible losses (St. John's & Georgetown especially and Clemson too) would have kept the Orange out. Especially because they lost 5 of their last 6 games including what I thought were play-in games against Florida State and Pittsburgh. But as usual the committee chose to punish mid-major teams that didn't win their conference tournaments. I'll assess that in another post and I'll conclude here with two things that worked in Syracuse's favor. Possibly legitimate: Viewing the 4-5 stretch without Boeheim as if they'd lost a player to injury. With him they were 14-8, and were maybe given a little leeway on that regard.The committee chairman says this was not a factor. Very legitimate: Syracuse was 5-6 against the RPI top-50. That includes wins over Texas A&M, UConn, St. Bonaventure, Notre Dame & Duke. Obviously that had a serious weighting with the committee. I feel happy that Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbinije get a chance to play in the tournament in their senior seasons.