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Bubble Watch: Comparing Resumes

Comparing Syracuse's NCAA Tournament resume to other bubble teams.

Syracuse sits at 18-13 after a convincing Senior Day victory over Georgia Tech. That outcome all but eliminates the Yellow Jackets from consideration for an at-large bid. Also falling out of consideration are Tennessee and TCU. Northwester, Virginia Tech and Marquette are firmly in at this point. 

So where do the Orange stand compared to other bubble teams? Let's take a look. 

Bad losses are any below the RPI top 100. 

Category Syracuse Cal Illinois Ill. St. Iowa Kansas St Mich St Monmouth Ohio St
Record 18-13 19-11 18-13 27-6 18-13 19-12 18-13 27-6 17-14
Road  2-8 3-6 3-6 9-4 3-7 5-6 2-7 12-4 4-7
Neutral 0-2 1-2 3-2 3-2 1-2 3-1 2-4 2-1 0-1
Conf 10-8 10-8 8-10 17-1 10-8 8-10 10-8 18-2 7-11
vs Top 100 9-10 4-9 11-12 2-4 9-11 5-10 11-12 1-3 8-13
vs Top 50 6-7 1-7 3-8 1-2 5-7 3-8 5-8 0-2 4-8
vs Top 25 3-4 0-6 1-6 0-0 2-5 2-5 2-7 0-1 1-6
SOS 61 36 20 155 46 54 9 201 34
Bad Losses 3 2 1 2 2 2 1 3 1
RPI 77 55 57 36 69 58 47 49 78
Worst RPI Loss 210 110 167 232 129 149 132 199 277
Ken Pom 44 55 68 49 67 32 50 78 70
Sagarin 36 51 67 59 60 50 42 85 54
BPI 31 52 63 59 77 41 47 76 60
Category Syracuse Providence Rhode Island Seton Hall USC Vandy VCU Wake Xavier
Record 18-13 20-11 21-9 20-10 23-8 17-14 24-7 18-12 19-12
Road 2-8 4-7 7-5 4-6 6-5 5-6 7-4 6-8 4-8
Neutral 0-2 1-1 1-1 4-2 3-0 1-3 2-2 1-1 3-0
Conf 10-8 10-8 13-5 10-8 10-8 10-8 14-4 9-9 9-9
vs Top 100 9-10 10-8 5-7 10-9 5-7 10-13 9-5 8-12 8-11
vs Top 50 6-7 5-7 2-4 4-6 2-5 5-8 2-3 3-8 3-8
vs Top 25 3-4 1-4 2-3 1-4 2-5 2-5 1-2 1-7 0-6
SOS 61 50 55 58 77 3 63 13 12
Bad Losses 3 3 2 1 1 1 2 0 1
RPI 77 52 42 43 38 44 23 28 32
Worst RPI Loss 210 229 211 130 131 262 211 77 103
Ken Pom 44 53 51 54 61 40 48 30 43
Sagarin 36 44 52 41 49 48 42 33 38
BPI 31 55 39 56 58 48 38 30 35

When you actually stack Syracuse's resume side by side to other bubble teams, the Orange has a very strong case to be in the NCAA Tournament almost regardless of the outcome of Wednesday's ACC Tournament matchup with Miami. Syracuse has more 50 and top 25 wins than every other team listed. 

The big issue on Syracuse's resume is wins away from the Carrier Dome, or lack there of. However, eight of the teams listed only have one or two more road wins than the Orange. Given other aspects of the resume, that hardly seems like something that should keep Syracuse out. Though it is a clear flaw in SU's resume and will be a factor for the committee. 

The other black eye for Syracuse is their bad losses. They have three, which is tied for the most in this group of bubble teams. However, eight teams have as many or just one fewer. Six teams have a loss that is worse in terms of RPI. 

Syracuse's RPI is also among the higher in this group at 77. However, many suggest that the RPI calculation is flawed and outdated. Advance metrics such as Ken Pom, Sagarin and even BPI are considered more accurate. In each of those categories, Syracuse is much more highly ranked. 

In the Ken Pom rankings, Syracuse is sixth in this group. In Sagarin's, Syracuse is second behind only Wake Forest (a team SU beat head to head). In BPI, the Orange is only behind Wake once again. 

In terms of strength of schedule, Syracuse is comparable to many other bubble teams. There are a few with a significantly better strength of schedule. They include Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Xavier, California, Illinois, Michigan State and Ohio State. Each, however, has worse records against the 25 and top 50 with fewer wins in each category. 

Cal is 1-7 against the top 50 and 0-6 against the top 25. Fifteen of Cal's 19 wins are against teams lower than 100 in RPI. Vandy is 2-5 against the top 25, already has 14 losses and has that bad loss to a 7-23 Missouri team. Xavier has lost six of their last seven, is missing their star point guard for that stretch who is done for the season with injury, and has zero top 25 wins. 

Wake Forest lost to Syracuse head to head and is just 1-7 against the top 25. Illinois just had a rough loss to a bad Rutgers team and are just 1-6 against the top 25. Michigan State is just 2-7 against the top 25. Ohio State already has 14 losses, is just 1-6 against the top 25 and lost at home to a 10-19 Florida Atlantic team that is 277th in RPI. 

Essentially, strength of schedule is nice and proves you've played a lot of good teams. You have to beat some of them, however. Syracuse has done that more than any other bubble team. 

So even with Syracuse's flaws, their resume compares favorably to nearly every other bubble team. Given that, SU actually sits in a solid spot going into their game against Miami in the ACC Tournament. 

A win against the Hurricanes essentially assures a big into the Big Dance. But as is outlined above, Syracuse still has a strong case even if they fall to a very good Miami squad. 


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