Syracuse basketball ends season ranked, could start next term same way

Syracuse basketball is a top-25 team to culminate the 2020-21 campaign, according to the final Coaches poll released after Baylor defeated Gonzaga to capture this season’s Big Dance.

The Orange, which ended at 18-10, landed at No. 25 in the last Coaches poll of 2020-21, and that’s pretty cool given that the ‘Cuse hasn’t found itself in the national rankings all that much in recent years.

After picking up two huge home wins over North Carolina and Clemson at the beginning of March, Syracuse basketball got back into the NCAA Tournament conversation for an at-large invite.

The Orange destroyed a red-hot N.C. State in the ACC Tournament’s second round, and then the ‘Cuse hung tough with No. 1 seed Virginia in a quarter-final battle that the Cavaliers won on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

Those accomplishments right before March Madness propelled Syracuse basketball to a No. 11 seed in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, during which the Orange knocked off No. 6 seed San Diego State and No. 3 seed West Virginia.

In the Sweet 16, the ‘Cuse would run into the swarming defense of No. 2 seed and eventual Final Four participant Houston, with the Syracuse basketball stanza wrapping up in a rough regional semi-final setback.

Syracuse basketball could begin the next term as a pre-season top-25 squad.

A lot of questions remain unanswered about the current Orange roster, but some experts are placing the ‘Cuse in their extremely early top-25 prognostications. This could change one way or another, of course, should the Orange see additional players depart the Hill or come on board in Central New York.

Jeff Goodman with Stadium has Syracuse basketball at No. 13, but he assumes that sophomore forward Quincy Guerrier returns, as well as junior forward Alan Griffin. Guerrier is testing the NBA Draft waters, and there are rumblings that Griffin may hit the transfer portal.

Jeff Borzello with ESPN has the ‘Cuse at No. 14, with the assumption, again, that Guerrier and Griffin come back.

CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish puts Syracuse basketball in his top 25 and 1 at No. 26. NCAA.com correspondent Andy Katz arranges the Orange at No.  19 with the write-up, “Four words — Buddy Boeheim is back.”

Finally, USA TODAY’s Scott Gleeson has the Orange at No. 16, although he, too, notes the return of Guerrier and Griffin, neither of which is a guarantee.

These pre-season top-25 predictions are so premature but still fun to digest. There will be a lot of fluidity for Syracuse basketball and teams around the country in the coming months, due to the transfer portal and the NBA Draft.

Still, it’s encouraging to have Syracuse basketball ranked to close out the 2020-21 campaign, with optimism also on the horizon for 2021-22.