Syracuse's 71-64 win over Providence on Sunday afternoon at the Carrier Dome hasn't salvaged the season. Not yet anyhow. However, if this Syracuse team is going to make the NCAA tournament, Sunday's gritty and gutty win, without another starter (more on that later) might be the start of its march to the Big Dance.
Currently, there are a lot of teams losing ground in trying to build their resumes. That is why this 14-7 Syracuse team still has a chance to earn a bid down the stretch. That and the fact that the Orange's RPI is a respectable 41. That doesn't guarantee inclusion, but it does beat last year's 50 rating that kept the Orange out. The other positive for Syracuse is the fact the Orange's schedule is ranked as the 6th most difficult. Therefore, when records are compared and teams have a few less losses, the strength of schedule for Syracuse should help out.
Still, the fact remains that Syracuse will either earn its bid down the stretch or will be playing in the NIT. A loss today might have pushed them to that new Gazelle tournament. Games at Depaul and all-of-a-sudden another bubble team Villanova appear on the horizon. Syracuse can afford no worse than a split. Truly a sweep might be needed. I expect that at some point, Syracuse and Villanova's resumes might be compared. If the Cats hold a season sweep over the Orange it might not be a good situation.
As fans of the Orange, we've learned that nothing is guaranteed in the world of NCAA bids. And certainly, we haven't even gotten to February let alone March. But since the sting of last year's non-bid still bothers many Orange fans, we've looked at the whole process more closely this season. Every loss seems to be the one that will keep us out, and every win the reason the Orange can't be denied. Today's win got SU back into the conversation. Now, they need to play well for the final month and a half.
Donte' Greene had a very solid performance today. Might not have been his best at the Cuse, but one that didn't have a lot of shaky moments. And I really thought that Jonny Flynn stepped up late when the Friars tied the score and made some plays. In past close games, the Orange has lacked the player to step up late and make plays. Flynn did that today with a big 3, and then a steal on the defensive end.
Noticeably absent from the lineup today was Orange guard Scoop Jardine. The freshman from Philly was in street clothes on the bench. Good wrapup of all the
rumors on the Troy Nunes Magician site.
The official word is that it is for a "violation of University policy" and that the suspension is indefinite.
Just a guess here, but I say we don't see Jardine in Chicago versus Depaul and its possible not in his homecoming next weekend. The on-campus fight sounded like the most plausible situation of all the internet rumors. But it doesn't sound like we're going to get too much explanation from the athletic staff, so that is what we have to go on.