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Sunday, Mar 12, 2017 at 7:58 pm

Syracuse Left Out of the NCAA Tournament

By Kevin Ryans SYRACUSE, N.Y. — After a tense and anxious four days, the Syracuse coaches and players hoped that the NCAA Selection Committee would give them the benefit of the doubt for some of its struggles for the second year in a row.

But as it turned out, the committee decided to go in a different direction. The Orange were left out of the 2017 NCAA Tournament.

SU finished the season with an 18-14 record. The Selection Committee likely looked down on the Orange’s sub-par non-conference season. Syracuse lost to the likes of Georgetown, St. John’s and Connecticut. The ‘Cuse also fell to Boston College on Jan. 1 as conference play began. All of those teams sat outside of the RPI top 100.

Despite the Orange slipping up early in the season, it was able to bounce back in ACC play. SU had impressive wins at home against Duke, Virginia and Florida State with their backs against the wall. The Orange also played a competitive overtime game at the Dome against Louisville on Feb. 13; a game that the ‘Cuse lost 76-72.

What might have also been detrimental to Syracuse’s tournament chances was its inability to win games away from the Carrier Dome. The Orange finished a combined 2-11 in neutral site and road games this season. The only wins came against NC State and Clemson, the latter on a buzzer beater by Tyus Battle.

SU Head Coach Jim Boeheim was disappointed when addressing reporters after the NCAA Tournament selections were announced. The head coach knew that its early season woes were a big factor into the Orange missing the big dance.

“We put ourselves in a tremendous hole,” Jim Boeheim said. “I think it comes down to we won just two road games and we obviously lost three games to teams outside the top 100. I think that overbalanced the fact that we beat three teams in the top 15.”

Syracuse misses the NCAA Tournament for just the second time since 2007-2008 season. The last time they failed to make the field was in 2014-2015 when the program imposed a one-year ban on itself from postseason play. That season Syracuse was responding to NCAA violations the program had committed, which led to 101 wins being vacated from Boeheim and the Orange.

SU has been selected as a number one seed for the upcoming National Invitational Tournament and will face UNC Greensboro on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Orange has never won an NIT in 12 appearances.

“It is what it is,” Boeheim continued in his press conference. “We just have to get ready and try to play the best we can in the NIT.”