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Syracuse has no damn business being in the NCAA Tournament and here’s why

Syracuse is a bad basketball team and they once again have a chance to make the NCAA Tournament. Bracketology is bad.

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-Syracuse vs Miami
This man picks his nose in public and has his wife lay out his clothes.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Before we get started, let me just say that I know we don’t have much of a leg to stand on since the Hoyas were real bad and haven’t sniffed a bubble since January or the tournament in two years. And y’all might not want to wade into bubble chatter, particularly around Syracuse. But I can’t help but rant here. I’m seeing multiple places with Syracuse in the tournament and I’m losing my shit.

This is their profile:

18-14; 10-8 Conference; RPI: 86; SOS: 55; non-conf. SOS: 198.

This includes losses to St. John’s (by 33, AT HOME), Georgetown, Boston College, and UConn. Those four losses alone should cancel a couple quality wins. HOW IS THIS NOT AN NIT TEAM? THIS IS THE LITERAL DEFINITION OF AN NIT TEAM. (Yes, I realize we aren’t even that so get your jabs in.)

These are the 8 bubble teams according to SB Nation:

Last Four In

18-14; 10-8 Conference; RPI: 43; SOS: 2; non-conf. SOS: 1

24-9; 10-8 Conference; RPI: 42; SOS: 70; non-conf. SOS: 159

18-14; 10-8 Conference; RPI: 86; SOS: 55; non-conf. SOS: 198

20-12; 8-10 Conference; RPI: 55; SOS: 42; non-conf. SOS: 227

First Four Out

21-9; 13-5 Conference; RPI: 45; SOS: 63; non-conf. SOS: 26

21-11; 10-8 Conference; RPI: 54; SOS: 54, non-conf. SOS: 33

26-6; 15-1 Conference; RPI: 32; SOS: 122; non-conf. SOS: 148

17-14; 8-10 Conference; RPI: 63; SOS: 21; non-conf. SOS: 44

Two of these teams clearly don’t belong. And one of them is Syracuse. And they’re in that Last Four In group.

The teams above are:


  • Vanderbilt (Still alive in SEC Tournament)
  • USC
  • Syracuse
  • Kansas State (Still alive in Big 12 tournament)


  • Rhode Island (Still alive in the A-10 tournament)
  • Cal (Still alive in Pac-12 Tournament, but play Oregon tonight)
  • Illinois State
  • Illinois

So we could see URI and Cal hop into that Last Four In, but any way you slice this Syracuse should not be in the tournament. They are 86th in RPI! They were 70th last year, which at the time was the lowest RPI ever for an at large team. 3 of the 4 "First Four Outs" have better RPIs and SOS. AND two of them have better records to boot. What universe is this?

A few other things to add (STANDUP NYHoya):

They are 2-11 on the road.

They have five sub-100 RPI losses (more than any other bubble teams).

They are under .500 against the RPI top 100.

No team with an RPI in the 80s has ever received an at-large bid.

Georgetown and STJ were the eighth and ninth best teams in the Big East. Syracuse lost to both AT HOME.

For what it’s worth, this is a very soft bubble, but Syracuse still doesn’t deserve to get in. For all of the talk about Cuse’s three buzzer beating wins, they happened against NC State, Clemson and Duke. Two of those teams aren’t even going to the Tourney.

Sure, they are 10-8 in the ACC; but when you take a closer look at the unbalanced scheduling you’ll notice that they played BC, Georgia Tech, Miami, Louisville and Pitt twice. And they actually lost to BC too. They only played 1 of the top 5 ACC teams twice. And they lost both of those games to Louisville. Sad!

Look at their conference strength of schedule. Out of 15 ACC teams, Syracuse had the 14th toughest schedule. So that 10-8 conference record is a bit misleading.

The only thing that helps them is that they have six top 50 RPI wins. That’s it. That is basically the only argument in their favor. And one of those top 50 wins was against Monmouth. MONMOUTH.