Jim Boeheim pitches case for Syracuse to make NCAA Tournament

first_imgNEW YORK — After a few weeks of slashing reporters with snarky one-liners about his team’s NCAA Tournament chances, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim finally let loose. It still took three attempts at the question to finally coax a substantial response out of the 41-year veteran, but he proceeded to spell out Syracuse’s Tournament resume for three minutes.“Every coach in the country that’s on the bubble thinks his team should get in,” Boeheim began, “… I’m not going to say whether we should get in or not, but … last year we had three good wins … this year we have three good wins, three teams in the Top 10 and we beat them.”That’s SU’s strongest case to get an invitation to the Big Dance, whose field is announced this Sunday. Wednesday demonstrated the best case against the Orange getting an NCAA Tournament bid: Syracuse (18-14, 10-8 Atlantic Coast) can’t seem to win on the road and it fell to Miami (21-10, 10-8), 62-57, in its only ACC tournament game. Senior John Gillon had a chance to tie the game with a long 3-pointer in the game’s final seconds, but the point guard couldn’t bury the heroic shot he’s made on a couple of other occasions this season.The Orange’s fate is now out of its hands. Wednesday’s loss in the Barclays Center, while damaging to SU’s Tournament resume, offered Syracuse a final chance to publicly pitch itself as worthy of a spot in March Madness.“Coach told me not to say this,” Gillon said before hesitating a moment, “but I don’t think a lot of teams that beat three Top 10 teams and didn’t get in. It probably hasn’t happened before.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThat certainty wasn’t the case for last year’s Syracuse team, which, unlike this team, earned its best wins in the nonconference portion of the schedule. SU finished only 9-9 in ACC play last season, including three losses to fellow bubble team Pittsburgh. It didn’t have any remarkable upsets midseason like Syracuse’s current squad, save for a road win at Duke.The Orange peaked in November, leading several pundits to incorrectly leave the Orange outside of the 68-team field. The same scenario seems to be shaping up.“That team didn’t have any wins against the top 20,” Boeheim said. “We have better wins than we had last year. We have more wins. We have Miami, we have Clemson on the road, we have Wake Forest. We didn’t have those wins last year.“We have a couple more nonconference losses this year and that’s something that I’m sure will be taken into consideration.”What’s more is that Syracuse is 2-11 in games away from the Carrier Dome this season, only compounding a 8-5 nonconference slate that some already thought doomed the Orange. No player or coach can conjure a logical reason for SU’s dramatic home and away splits, but the NCAA Tournament selection committee doesn’t need an excuse.It’s going to look at the numbers, which don’t tilt at all in Syracuse’s favor.“People keep talking about road losses,” Boeheim said. “In the ACC, there’s four teams going to the tournament that have three wins on the road. We have two … I think the committee, from what I’ve gathered over my years, is looking for teams that could win games in the tournament.”MORE COVERAGEThe Final Word: Beat writers discuss Syracuse’s 62-57 loss against MiamiJohn Gillon can’t pilot Syracuse offense in ACC tournament loss to MiamiWhat we learned from Syracuse’s 62-57 ACC tournament loss to MiamiSyracuse loses to Miami in ACC tournament and now all the Orange can do is waitGallery: Syracuse loses third straight ACC tournament game At least in terms of conference road games, the three teams Boeheim alluded to are likely Miami, Duke and Florida State. Each has three wins in away conference games and all three lost in the Carrier Dome this season. Whether that has any bearing on Syracuse getting in the NCAA Tournament remains to be seen.What’s clear are the facts, which can be skewed both for and against the Orange getting into the NCAA Tournament. One loss in the ACC tournament might not mean anything, or it might mean everything. We’ll know on Sunday. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on March 8, 2017 at 4:49 pm Contact Connor: cgrossma@syr.edu | @connorgrossmanlast_img

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