Syracuse Basketball: The ACC currently stinks, and that’s bad for Orange

Syracuse basketball (Syndication: Tallahassee Democrat)
Syracuse basketball (Syndication: Tallahassee Democrat) /

Syracuse basketball owns a .500 record at this juncture in the 2021-22 campaign, which has many Orange fans understandably frustrated.

But ‘Cuse fans aren’t alone in their misery, as a ton of Atlantic Coast Conference squads have put forth sub-par marks so far in the present stanza.

Often thought of as perhaps the No. 1 or No. 2 league around the country, the ACC is far from that this year. Yes, Virginia won it all in 2019, and the same goes for North Carolina in 2017 and Duke in 2015.

And, of course, Syracuse basketball went to a Final Four in 2016 as well as Sweet 16s in 2018 and 2021 while a member of the ACC. However, save for Duke, the ACC by and large is struggling this year.

Syracuse basketball will need to fare well in conference competition to rejuvenate its season.

When the latest Associated Press top-25 poll came out on Monday, that ballot featured one ACC team. Duke is No. 2 nationally. That’s it, although North Carolina is in the “others receiving votes” category.

At the time of this writing, the Blue Devils had one loss. So did Wake Forest. The Tar Heels possessed two setbacks. Every other group in the ACC, otherwise, had a minimum of three defeats. Nine of the league’s 15 members had at least four losses, including the Orange (5-5, 1-0).

I give credit to Notre Dame for knocking off then-No. 10 Kentucky over the weekend. Duke has a conquest of then-No. 1 Gonzaga. ACC teams have a few other good triumphs here and there, but also a ton of setbacks.

Now, as I wrote about not too long ago, there is a ton of parity in college basketball. And I’m not simply talking about parity among Power 5 conferences. I’m talking about parity between Power 5 leagues and so-called mid-major conferences.

Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the NCAA previously granted all college basketball players an extra season of eligibility, if they wanted it. So some mid-majors have rosters filled with even more experience and veteran players.

And the NCAA’s new policy that lets all student-athletes transfer once and retain immediate eligibility has fueled an explosion in the transfer portal.

As a result, one could say that some mid-majors are more experienced, while many Power 5 squads, including the ‘Cuse, have vastly revamped rosters. Hence, more parity and more mid-majors beating Power 5s.

For Syracuse basketball, the best that it can do in the non-conference is go 6-5. Thus, if the Orange wants any sniff of a chance at a Big Dance berth come next spring, the ‘Cuse will have to perform at a high level in ACC clashes.

The dilemma for Syracuse basketball, though, is that if the ACC continues to have its fair share of struggles, the Orange’s potential league wins might not move the needle as much as the ‘Cuse would have liked as it pertains to the team’s NET ranking and other post-season metrics.

Next. Syracuse basketball commits, 5-star targets are All-American candidates. dark