Syracuse Basketball: Joe Lunardi has Orange as last team in – shocker!

Yeah, I know, bracketology projections for Syracuse basketball and its peers around the country at this juncture are super premature and a little silly.

But they’re still fun, right? Particularly when ESPN’s resident bracketologist, Joe Lunardi, has the Orange slotted as the last team in for his latest projected field of 68.

Some ‘Cuse fans have a love-hate relationship with Lunardi, and he’s not shy about acknowledging that fact. Regardless, Lunardi moved the Orange down a bit from his previous mock bracket.

In that one, he placed Syracuse basketball as a No. 8 seed in the East Region, with the ‘Cuse set to suit up against No. 9 seed LSU in the round of 64.

More recently, Lunardi arranges the Orange as a No. 12 seed and facing off with fellow No. 12 seed Colorado State in the First Four. No worries. The ‘Cuse seems to thrive as a double-digit seed in March Madness, evidenced by its run to the Sweet 16 during this past spring’s Big Dance.

Syracuse basketball is near the proverbial bubble, according to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi.

Should the Orange conquer Colorado State in the First Four, the ‘Cuse would then square off versus No. 5 seed Connecticut in the round of 64. That is a tantalizing potential encounter between two former Big East Conference rivals within the Midwest Region.

The top-eight seeds in this region are No. 1 seed Michigan, No. 2 seed Baylor, No. 3 seed Alabama, No. 4 seed Tennessee, No. 5 seed UConn, No. 6 seed Illinois, No. 7 seed Oregon and No. 8 seed Virginia Tech.

The four No. 1 seeds in Lunardi’s projected 2022 NCAA Tournament are 2021 Big Dance runner-up Gonzaga, 2021 Final Four participant UCLA, 2021 Big Dance Elite Eight member Michigan and blue-blood school Kansas.

There are eight Atlantic Coast Conference squads in Lunardi’s mock field of 68. They are No. 3 seed Duke, No. 4 seed Florida State, No. 7 seed North Carolina, No. 7 seed Louisville, No. 8 seed Virginia Tech, No. 9 seed Virginia, No. 10 seed Notre Dame and No. 12 seed Syracuse basketball.

Additionally, ACC teams Georgia Tech and Clemson are in Lunardi’s next four out category. Other New York-based schools that made the cut are No. 5 seed St. Bonaventure, No. 13 seed Colgate and No. 15 seed Iona, which is led by Rick Pitino.