Syracuse Basketball: Huge challenge to keep winning-seasons streak alive

Syracuse basketball, which will unfortunately be without junior center Jesse Edwards for the remainder of the 2021-22 campaign, saw its four-game success streak snapped when the Orange fell at Virginia Tech, 71-59, on Saturday evening.

The ‘Cuse (13-12, 7-7) has six regular-season contests left before the ACC Tournament in Brooklyn, N.Y., next month. I remain hopeful that Syracuse basketball can snag a post-season bid to the NIT.

An invite to the Big Dance is really a dream at this point, unless the Orange goes on a run to close out the regular stanza and then does some serious damage in Brooklyn.

However, what I’m really focused on at this juncture, especially given the sad news about Edwards, is the ‘Cuse keeping intact its decades-long streak of posting winning season after winning season.

As we’ve noted many times, in his more than four decades at the helm on the Hill, Orange head coach Jim Boeheim has never endured a term where the team’s record is below .500. It’s fair to say that Coach Boeheim’s streak could be in a bit of jeopardy in 2021-22.

Syracuse basketball has two winnable games lurking in the near future.

Following Saturday’s slate of Atlantic Coast Conference collisions, the ‘Cuse sits in a tie for seventh place in the league standings with Virginia Tech.

The Orange will have a multi-day stretch of practices before the ‘Cuse returns to action with a home game versus Boston College this coming Saturday afternoon. Not too long ago, Syracuse basketball dispatched of the Eagles on their own turf.

After the BC bout, the Orange hosts Georgia Tech on February 21, goes to Notre Dame on February 23, entertains Duke in Central New York on February 26, travels to North Carolina on February 28 and wraps up the 2021-22 regular season at the Carrier Dome versus Miami on March 5.

The good news is that four of these six meetings are at home. Syracuse basketball has already defeated Boston College, although the ‘Cuse has fallen to Duke and Miami.

If my math is correct, the Orange would need to go 4-2 to wind up with a 17-14 overall mark. That way, should the ‘Cuse lose its first match-up in the ACC Tournament, and potentially get an NIT berth but fall in its initial duel, Syracuse basketball would still finish 2021-22 with a record of 17-16, preserving Boeheim’s winning-stanzas streak.

The Orange absolutely has to take care of business against the Eagles and the Yellow Jackets, two of the worst squads in the ACC this campaign.

At present, the last four regular-season games for the ‘Cuse are versus the top-four groups in the league race, at least for the time being.

If Syracuse basketball bests BC and GT, the Orange would then need to go 2-2 against the quartet of Notre Dame, Duke, UNC and Miami. That’s an extremely tall task, especially without Edwards manning the middle.