Syracuse's 87-73 win over Villanova on Saturday afternoon at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia will go a long way to determining the Orange's fate come Selection Sunday.
Syracuse is currently squarely on the bubble, but yet seems to sitting on the right side of the bubble in most online bracket renditions. A loss on Saturday certainly could have changed that.
Obviously, there is a lot of basketball to played in the next six weeks, and Syracuse's fate will likely swing back and forth plenty of times between now and then. It certainly has already this season.
Still, I think that Saturday's win is one that will go a long way towards helping the Orange get a berth. Here's my justification for that logic. As it currently sits, Villanova isn't a tournament team. The 'Cats aren't even as much as a true bubble team right now in my estimation. So if that continues, two losses to a non-contender would have been a huge strike against the Orange if the committee was choosing between the Orange and someone else on that Sunday.
If 'Nova plays its way back into contention, and a win against St. Joseph's tonight would be a start, then all of a sudden the Cats and the Orange will be compared side-by-side. Syracuse has a lot in its favor when these resumes are looked at. A higher RPI, a tougher schedule, etc. But if they had to compare the two and 'Nova owned two wins in two tries versus the Orange, you'd have to like 'Nova's chance to get the bid. Now with the split and the other factors in SU's favor (at the moment) you'd have to like the Orange.
Syracuse already has some losses to other bubble teams, UMASS & Rhode Island, so they could ill-afford another situation where head-to-head competition would go in favor of the opposition. That is why, beyond the stroke in the win column, Saturday's win was so important come tourney decision time.