5 Reasons Why the Orange Will Squeeze into the Big Dance
There certainly is cause for concern in Orange Nation. The Syracuse University basketball team is in danger of sliding off the bubble and missing the Big Dance in 2020.
It usually takes a minimum of 18 wins to impress the NCAA Tournament selection committee. Jim Boeheim’s Orange will need at least four or five more victories—and they have six more regular season games, plus their conference tourney to do it. But the odds aren’t as long as they seem, even for a team that’s been up and down all year.
It's essentially been a three-man show with shooters Elijah Hughes, Buddy Boeheim and JG3 carrying most of the load. They will have to continue for SU to make the NCAAs; that's a given. Here are a few other factors that will help SU pull it off:
1. WEAK OPPONENTS
Victories in five of the final six regular season games would not be impossible. Other than the high-flying Louisville Cardinals, the remaining teams on the Syracuse slate are a combined 62-64. Not exactly top shelf.
2. THE X FACTOR
Marek Dolezaj. The slippery forward has added confident ball-handling to his court skills. Boeheim has wisely put the rock in his hands at key moments and MD is often able to operate against larger forwards on drives to the hoop.
3. THE Q FACTOR
Quincy Guerrier is ready to contribute more minutes and points off the bench for the Orange—and they’ll need him.
4. THE DOME
Three of the remaining games are at home, where the Syracuse crowd will rise to the challenge and make a difference.
5. THE COACH
Still one of the best in the biz at late-game strategy, he’s not in the Hall of Fame for nothing. Just watch: Coach Boeheim will impose his iron will on this team and they’ll outsmart other teams just enough to sneak into the NCAA field.
Now for the bad news: Unless all five of these dynamics click, get used to the letters NIT instead of NCAA this year.