When the Syracuse Orange lost to Boston College back on February 19, the entire basketball world was surprised that the first loss of the season came to one of the lowest-ranked teams in the ACC. Three nights later, when the Cuse lost to Duke, some may not have thought twice about it considering it was at Cameron Indoor and the Blue Devils haven’t lost in over 30 games at home.
However, when Syracuse barely edged out Maryland in a 57-55 down-to-the-wire thriller, and then followed it up with losses against Virginia and Georgia Tech, fans in upstate New York may be seriously looking to hit the panic button.
The Syracuse Orange, despite starting the season 25-0 for their best start in school history, have now lost four of their last five games and truly haven’t looked good in general in their last seven. They have now lost ground on the potential of getting a number-one seed in the NCAA Tournament, and some may wonder how much you can ride them in the coming weeks.
On Tuesday night, the Orange got a career high from CJ Fair, who poured in 28 points. However, it wasn’t enough to get past a 13-16 Georgia Tech team that won just their fifth ACC game on the season with Tuesday’s efforts. Not only was Georgia Tech slumping in the ACC, but they also have a Basketball Power Index ranking of 123, which is considered the extended version of the Top 25 for the rest of the teams in college basketball. The loss by Syracuse to Georgia tech was the one of the greatest margins between two teams this season, the other of which was when Syracuse lost to Boston College (ranked 138 by the BPI). That is obviously not a good sign for a team that could be playing a nine or even eight seed in the tournament, and they’ll likely see much strong competition than the Yellow Jackets or the Eagles.
Although CJ Fair has looked decent during this current slide, the rest of the Orange have suffered. The team is being outscored by an average of 6.2 per game in the last five and they are only shooting 37.2% from the field. All of this has contributed to being just the second team in the last 20 years to lose at least four games, after starting the season 20-0.
The next game for Syracuse will be the regular season finale against Florida State. Considering the Orange’s recent struggles and the fact that this is the final game of the season for Florida State, on their home court no less, it will certainly be a game that is worth keeping an eye on. You can look to Sportspicks.com handicappers to provide daily tips for this game and all of the other games on tap for the last weekend in the college basketball season.
Although it may look like it’s time to jump ship for Syracuse, keep this in mind. Last year they finished the season 1-4, only to make a huge run in the Big East Tournament and then make it all the way to the Final Four in the NCAA Tournament. Who knows, this might be Jim Boeheim’s way of rattling his players before the competition begins to seriously matter. But they certainly will want to turn things around and kick this losing streak as best possible, as soon as possible.