Cuse Country

Home Away From Dome for Syracuse Orange Fans

Sunday evening observations

Posted by Tim on January 14, 2007

A few random thoughts from the weekend:

1) Few opportunities for a statement win remain: Our remaining Big East schedule includes home games against Cincinnati (RPI of 144, according to, Notre Dame (32), DePaul (57), St. John’s (166), UConn (80) and Georgetown (58) and road games against St. John’s, Louisville (74), UConn, South Florida (181), Providence (54) and Villanova (27). Of those teams, only Notre Dame and Villanova have a higher RPI than SU (RPI of 53). While winning most of  these games will undoubtedly help our RPI, there’s hardly anything that will significantly separate us from the pack in the eyes of the selection committee. In fact, we won’t have an opportunity to pick up a win against a top 25 RPI team until the Big East tournament if things stay the way they are now. I haven’t done the math, but it seems clear that the Orange probably have a relatively thin margin for error from here on out; a 9-7 conference schedule, as predicted at Orange 44, likely won’t get the job done. Every team left on the schedule is beatable, and we need to beat a high percentage of them. If we don’t, we’ll be sweating on Selection Sunday.

2) Um, about that Wichita State game: The pundits were all but ready to punch the Shockers’ ticket to the tournament after their win over the Orange in the Dome earlier this season. But something rather, er, shocking has happened since then: Wichita State has fallen apart, losing to respectable foes such as Missouri State, Northern Iowa, and Southern Illinois as well as to slightly dodgier competition like New Mexico. What looked last month like a loss to this year’s Bucknell or George Mason now looks like a defeat to a team that’s in deep trouble in a conference not likely to produce more than a couple tournament teams. This could end up looking like a pretty bad loss by the end of the season if the Shockers don’t turn it around. (Kudos to the Syracusan for doubting the Shockers back before it was cool.)

3) Respect: Now that we’ve beaten Marquette and Villanova, no one can say we don’t have any big wins. The question is what they’ll be worth in March. ‘Nova in particular seems like the kind of team that could fall far in the RPI once the Big East season gets going. They’re 27th in RPI largely because they’ve played the 10th toughest schedule in the country, but the fact remains that they haven’t really beaten anyone besides Georgetown. On the other hand, Marquette apparently lost focus for a couple of games against Providence and SU but is otherwise a very solid team. The Wildcats might be our best win today, but the Golden Eagles could easily be tops by the time the selection committee gets to work.


5 Responses to “Sunday evening observations”

  1. Michael said

    Since I’m in the Midwest I have had a chance to catch a few of the local games. First, let’s not forget:

    “Wichita State has fallen apart, losing to respectable foes such as Missouri State, Northern Iowa, and Southern Illinois…”

    Southern Illinois is SO ILL (that’s not a joke they are 15-4).

    Furthermore, I’ve had a chance to watch Marquette play and, let me tell you, at times they can tear it up like the interchange:

    You would have to have driven through Milwaukke to really get that one.

    Hey, is the Syracusan stateside yet?

    And in closing – Go Bears! (And Indy in the AFC).

  2. I actually think that 9-7 would be enough to get into the Tournament.

    However, at this juncture, I don’t think this team can get to that mark.

    It seems as if every media-type is bagging on Syracuse right now. But to be honest, the resume is fairly competitive, hence the “adequate” position on the invitation status. Once these pundits pull their heads out their ass and actually watch this team play and look at the Orange’s resume — which should happen now given the ass-whooping SU put on Villanova Saturday — public opinion should begin to sway.

    Hell, is UConn’s resume any better than Syracuse’s right now? And most assume the Huskies are in, which is nuts.

    Things are not as bad as others may want us to think right now. Some quick wins against Cincy and St. John’s should help. Of course, Syracuse has not had a great track record with these types of games in the recent past (remember DePaul last season?)

  3. Tim said

    Matt — two things: First, a 9-7 BE record would mean going 6-6 the rest of the way, with the majority of likely losses coming toward the end of the regular season. The selection committee hates that. Second, our RPI is not great now and I can’t see it getting any better unless we step it up in conference play. To go 6-6 from here on out, assuming wins against St. John’s, Cincy and South Florida, would mean losing six out of nine against our remaining opponents with RPIs below 100. That’s going to hurt — a lot.

    It’s not so much the 9-7 conference mark that scares me, it’s the RPI it’d leave us with.

  4. Josh said

    After the 3-1 start, with the team’s play slowly but steadily improving, I am surprised that Matt does not think they will get to 9-7 in the conference. I’m thinking more like 11 or 12 wins. Look at Tim’s last comment, but note that there are actually *4* games they will be heavily favored to win (2 vs. the Johnnies). If they win those and split the remaining 8 games, that’s 11-5. This is an entirely plausible result, because the rest of the BE (except probably Pitt) is more or less on SU’s level. This is basically Tim’s point in the post, that there are no “statement games”. Their best chance to look good at the end of the year is to simply be steady winners going forward.

    Until they threepeat as BE Tourney champs!

  5. […] Our margin for error is now essentially zero. As I pointed out a couple of weeks ago, our schedule is not strong enough to overcome a lot of bad losses. That […]

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