Tomorrow, I will leave the hectic life of Connecticut's "Gold Coast" and ride the rails into the world's foremost cesspool of metropolitan glitz. As of late, Syracuse's hoops record in games I attend is fairly pedestrian -- the Orange is winless since April 7, 2003 (an 81-78 victory over Kansas in the National Championship).
Yeah, it's pretty awesome being me.
Anyway, I'm going to attend the "Orange Friendzy" at Stout prior to the game. Stop by, say hello, and buy me a beer. I deserve it.
Resume and Factors of Relevance
The foregoing data is accurate only to the date and time of publication. As this feature will not receive a daily update (rather, a weekly update will take place), its particular factual accuracy should not receive great weight as the week subsequently passes. However, it should stand as a solid indicator of what Syracuse has accomplished this season and what the Orange must yet achieve in order to secure another NCAA Tournament invitation.
With respect to the status variables included, each variable relates to one of five possible states of affairs:
- Troubling; and
Status variables ranging above "adequate" indicate facts and circumstances conducive to receiving a bid. Status variables ranging below "adequate" indicate facts and circumstances of concern -- relative to the rest of the nation, Syracuse needs to improve its position. The status variable of "adequate" indicates a hold position -- depending on what other colleges or universities accomplish, Syracuse's current status may or may not be good enough to merit an invitation.
|Resume and Factors of Relevance|
|Factor of Relevance||Factor Value||Status|
|Big East Record||4-1||Good|
|Big East RPI||7||Troubling|
|RPI 1-50 Record||2-3||Adequate|
|RPI 51-100 Record||3-1||Good|
|RPI 101-200 Record||6-0||Great|
|RPI 200+ Record||4-0||Great|
|Last 10 Games||8-2||Great|
|Solid Victories||1. Villanova|
5. Holy Cross
|Projected BE Record||10-6||Adequate|
|Total Invitation Status||Good|
Invitation Status Upgrade
Despite Syracuse's woeful second-half performance against Cincinnati, I upgraded the Orange's invitation status one notch. The elevation is attributable to three factors:
- Syracuse's road/neutral record is terrific and given the fact that the majority of the Orange's remaining road contests -- St. John's, Louisville, Connecticut, South Florida, Providence, and Villanova -- are winnable, there should be sufficient "bonus RPI points" available for Syracuse to accumulate.
- After running some predictory models this week, I am fairly certain that Syracuse's rank in the RPI and its Strength of Schedule should finish somewhere inside the nation's top 30 by the end of the season. The NCAA Dance Card agrees with my assessment, although it takes a different route to the conclusion.
- From a subjective standpoint, Syracuse has begun to generate some national attention from the main stream media. The more the Orange stays in the conversation for a bid, the better chance Syracuse has at creating pathways to garnering an invitation.
This has been a touchstone for many critics and pessimists, but the factual circumstance is a red herring (or at least it should be).
The issue turns on consistency of selection methodology. The Selection Committee has at its disposal a host of criteria to determine whether a college or university merits an invitation. Amongst those criteria includes subjective evaluations and perceptions of victories. That perception, however, must be tempered by other factual data such as RPI, total victories, conference standing, strength of schedule, and actual performance.
It is because of these other points of emphasis that I believe that Syracuse's lack of "marquee victories" should not ultimately doom the Orange. In short, Syracuse has done enough -- at least currently -- in other scrutinized areas to merit a bid.
Last 10 Games
This is going to be an area to keep an eye on. Syracuse's final four regular season games features alternating road and home contests against a handful of the Big East's better clubs -- Connecticut, Providence, Georgetown, and Villanova.
Should Syracuse drop these last four games, the Orange may or may not need to win a Big East Tournament game to ensure an invitation. However, given the overall resume that I expect Syracuse to accumulate, such a "must-win" may be unnecessary.
Who To Root For
It's easy: Drexel and Wichita State. These are the only two potential anchors on Syracuse's RPI.
- If I'm a Connecticut fan, I am somewhat concerned at this juncture. I'm not saying that Connecticut is going to miss the Big Dance, but the Huskies have more work to do at this point than the Orange.
- At this point, I think that the Big East gets at minimum six bids to the show; at maximum, seven.
- Syracuse's two contests against St. John's is a double-edged sword. There is great potential to win both contests, but the games will not help the Orange's RPI and Strength of Schedule significantly (even with the bonus points for road victories). Plus, St. John's has a legitimate chance to win both games.