Sunday, March 12, 2017
The Syracuse Orange will be watching the NCAA Tournament for the second time in 3 years (not the way Jim Boeheim wanted to spend his latter years, but that's another post for another time). The Orange were squarely on the bubble with an 18-14 record. Working against them, 4 horrible losses (St John's, Georgetown, UConn and Boston College), a poor road record (2-11) and a miserable RPI (80-something), which would have been the worst RPI to ever get an at-large berth, breaking the record they set last year. But working in their favor, Syracuse finished 10-8 in the top conference, won 6 games against the RPI top 50 and was a completely different team that they were in November and December. But when you lose 14 games, and blow several chances at a statement win, or even an easy clinching win, and don't get it, you really can't blame the committee. Every team ahead of the Orange has pros and cons when rated head-to-head. My only issue is with what seems to me to be some inconsistency in the criteria from year-to-year. It seems like last year SU was rewarded for big wins, this year those didn't matter as much. Perhaps the committee didn't want to keep stretching their criteria for the same team, and certainly it didn't seem like last year's Final Four run mattered at all. But at least I have the Virginia game saved on my DVR.