With the college basketball season about at the half way mark, it’s time to say something about the team at the top of the rankings: Well done… for now. You have kept that ranking for four weeks as of now, and are holding steady through the beginning of the Big East schedule. And while of the fan base talks about how great it is to be the best team in the nation, I will say this about the Syracuse Orange, they are showing the committee that they should be a one seed come March Madness. If you are wondering what the differnce is between the fans cheering for the team being number one and my vision of the squad, and the answer is simple. They can be knocked off at any time from the number one slot, but how they play, wherever they are in the rankings, is what is going to get them seeded.
The talent is there this year, as shown by head coach Jim Boeheim playing 10 players right now compared to his usual 7 man rotation. The challenges have come for the squad, and they have surpassed them, and more will come and we will see how the team does. But for now, for the present, whatever anyone wants to say as far as talent, SU is the top team in the land and is playing itself into a number one seed team come Selection Sunday. If you think that means they do not have that wrapped up yet you are right, since from my guesstimations (unless major fails comes along) two spots are sealed, for North Carolina and Kentucky, with a third being close to that status, in OSU. For Syracuse to get that fourth spot it’s going to take them winning the conference I believe, or for any other of the top contenders not doing well in their conferences.
Can SU be a top seed? Sure, they could even be the best of the top seeds, and right now have the best chance at that spot as Joe Lunard says in his blog (ESPN Insider), but they still have to go along with the season and focus on winning the Big East regular season and do well in the conference post season tournament. Having watched every game the team has played, and then re-watched them on my dvr, I would say that can be achieved without much trouble as long as no injuries or fall offs arrive in the Salt City.
All of this continues tonight as the Syracuse Orange (15-0, 2-0 in the BE) will play against the Providence Friars (11-4, 0-2 in the BE) at the Dunkin Donuts Center, with tip off time being at 9:00 pm EST. One key for me is that this team, which plays mainly zone, has to start getting their rebounding up, as they are averaging 36.9 per game (105th in the country). That against a dominating front court is going to hurt the Orange, especially if their big man, Fab Melo, was to get into foul trouble. For sure the seven footer is turning heads, especially after having a school record 10 blocks in the `Cuse’s game against Seton Hall. The Orange are 13.5 points favorite in this one and I would say that the spread is right on target, as I see coach Boeheim’s team winning this one, as they have the last three match-ups between the schools, by 12 to 15 points after struggling a bit in the first half.