Syracuse basketball near ESPN bracketology bubble, Duke totally out

Despite getting pasted by No. 8 Virginia on Monday evening, Syracuse basketball remains close to the proverbial bubble as it pertains to the 2021 NCAA Tournament, according to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi.

Losing on the road to the Cavaliers, a squad riding a seven-game winning streak, isn’t the end of the world, however, falling by more than 20 points isn’t great for the optics, either.

Yet Lunardi, in updating his mock field of 68 on Jan. 26, places the ‘Cuse in his next four out category, along with former Big East Conference foe Providence, SMU and Penn State.

Have a look at some recent metrics for the Orange. As of contests on Jan. 25, the team has a NET rating of No. 47. The ‘Cuse is No. 43 over at kenpom.com. And on the Bracket Matrix Web site, updated on Jan. 25, Syracuse basketball possesses an average seed of 11.25, although the Orange only appears in 16 of 77 projected brackets.

Syracuse basketball can still re-enter the conversation for a Big Dance berth.

The ‘Cuse (9-5, 3-4) doesn’t boast a super awesome record at this juncture in the 2020-21 campaign, but it also doesn’t have any bad losses.

Per Lunardi’s most recent bracket, the Orange’s five losses are to No. 3 seed UVA, No. 11 seed North Carolina, No. 11 seed Rutgers and Pittsburgh (twice), which is in his first four out section. Plus, save for one setback to the Panthers, all of these defeats came on the road.

Additionally, Syracuse basketball owns victories versus three teams in Lunardi’s mock field. They are No. 8 seed Virginia Tech, No. 14 seed Bryant and No. 15 seed Northeastern.

The four No. 1 seeds in Lunardi’s latest bracketology are Gonzaga, Baylor, Michigan and Villanova. Many national pundits deem Gonzaga and Baylor as the clear-cut, top-two squads around the country.

The loaded Big Ten Conference leads the way with 11 March Madness bids, according to Lunardi, followed by the Big 12 Conference with seven, and the ACC as well as the Southeastern Conference with six each.

The half-dozen ACC participants are No. 3 seed Virginia, No. 5 seed Florida State, No. 7 seed Louisville, No. 8 seeds Clemson and Virginia Tech, and No. 11 seed North Carolina. Duke is nowhere to be found. Just saying.