Syracuse Basketball: A win at Louisville would be monumental for resume

With five regular-season contests left in the 2020-21 campaign for Syracuse basketball, assuming no postponed games are made up, the Orange currently boasts a Big Dance resume that more likely than not has the ‘Cuse on the outside looking in for an at-large berth to March Madness.

Syracuse basketball (12-6, 6-5), which has captured two Atlantic Coast Conference conquests in a row and three of four overall, doesn’t by any means possess an awful resume. The Orange has a solid victory over nationally ranked Virginia Tech, and none of the ‘Cuse setbacks are terrible.

What’s hampering Syracuse basketball, frankly, is that it needs to amass several more marquee successes to bolster its 2021 NCAA Tournament chances. And that starts on Wednesday evening, when the team heads to the KFC Yum! Center for an ACC clash against Louisville.

The Cardinals (11-4, 6-3), presently in the top-tier of the league standings, could find themselves either really fresh or a tad rusty in this conference collision. That’s because Louisville, as a result of Covid-19 protocols, hasn’t suited up for a game dating back to Feb. 1.

As you may recall, the Orange was supposed to host the Cardinals in Central New York on Feb. 3, but that meeting got halted amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Syracuse basketball faces quite a tall task at Louisville on Wednesday night.

At this juncture, the ‘Cuse, with a NET ranking of No. 52 though affairs on Feb. 14, is lacking a pivotal quadrant-one triumph. Should the Orange defeat the Cardinals, a squad that places at No. 33 in the NET ratings, it would provide Syracuse basketball with an inaugural quadrant-one achievement.

Such an outcome would also give the ‘Cuse a road win over one of the better groups in the ACC. It won’t prove easy, though. Louisville is 8-1 on its own turf, while Syracuse basketball is 2-5 away from the Hill.

The Cardinals’ resume isn’t all that amazing, either. Louisville has bested Seton Hall, Kentucky, Virginia Tech, Duke and Georgia Tech, among others. Similar to the Orange, the Cardinals are searching for their first quadrant-one victory.

All-time, Syracuse basketball is 10-19 against this fellow ACC foe, per orangehoops.org, and that includes Louisville’s 90-66 domination of the ‘Cuse a stanza ago.

The two teams will tip-off at 6:30 pm, with television coverage on the ACC Network. Donna Ditota of Syracuse.com has detailed in an article that the Cardinals’ roster will be minus several of its players.

The Orange scores more points per game than Louisville, but the ‘Cuse also allows more points on defense. Each squad has an advantage in a couple of statistical categories, and they are relatively even in turnovers committed, field-goal shooting percentage and 3-point shooting percentage.

As usual, rebounding is critical. The same goes for forcing miscues and grabbing easy buckets out in transition. Syracuse basketball typically is strong at sharing the ball on offense, resulting in a lot of assists, and generating steals. The Orange must do both versus the Cardinals.

For now, Louisville is forecast as a No. 8 seed in the Big Dance, according to the Bracket Matrix Web site, while the ‘Cuse is for the most part outside the field of 68.

That trajectory for Syracuse basketball could change, however, by knocking off the Cardinals in Louisville, Ky.