Team of the Week: Syracuse Orange

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The Orange thrust themselves back into the NCAA tournament pictures this week, as they knocked off Wake Forest and Florida State in the Carrier Dome.

The two wins bump the Orange up to 13-9 on the season and 5-4 in the league, but, more importantly, the two wins are two of the best wins that the Orange have this season. Syracuse has the look of a tournament team on paper. The problem is their tournament profile: It just isn’t good enough.

They’ve lost to UConn, Boston College, Georgetown and St. John’s already this season, losses that wouldn’t be bad if this was 2007 instead of 2017. As it stands, none of those four teams are going to the NCAA tournament, and it means that the Orange are going to have to pick up a lot of high-RPI wins in the next five weeks if they want a chance to dance. Florida State factors in there. Wake Forest actually has pretty decent computer numbers, and there is the win over Miami from last month that will carry some weight as well.

But maybe, just maybe, these are the kind of wins that can get the ship righted for the Orange as they enter a crucial stretch of their schedule. Three of their next four and four of their next six games are on the road. But, more importantly, three of their remaining four homes games are against Louisville, Virginia and Duke. Quality wins are there for the taking.

THEY WERE GOOD, TOO

  • Georgetown: All of a sudden, Georgetown looks like a team that still have a prayer of getting to the NCAA tournament. After nearly going a full year between wins over Big East foes not named Creighton or DePaul, the Hoyas picked off No. 16 Creighton and No. 11 Butler on the road in the same week.
  • Georgia Tech: At this point in the season, the Yellow Jackets are an NCAA tournament team. That doesn’t mean they’re a lock to dance on Selection Sunday – there are still plenty of chances for them to do dumb things over the course of the next six weeks – but after blowing out Florida State and beating Notre Dame, Josh Pastner looks like he’ll be heading back to the Big Dance.
  • Miami: The Hurricanes landed the quality win their profile desperately lacked, smacking around North Carolina on Saturday to improve to 16-5 on the season. Miami looks like they are a tournament team.
  • West Virginia: The Mountaineers kept the door open for everyone else in the Big 12 this season as they picked off the Kansas Jayhawks in Morgantown this week.
  • Tennessee: The Vols gave Kentucky their first loss of the season in Knoxville on Tuesday and followed that up by beating a good Kansas State team over the weekend.