EWB local bracketology: SJU leads area teams into March Madness

Chris Mullin, St. John's Red Storm. March Madness. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Chris Mullin, St. John's Red Storm. March Madness. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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March Madness
Tyus Battle, Syracuse Orange. March Madness. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

Atlantic Coast Conference – Syracuse

There is only one area team in the Atlantic Coast Conference and they are in the thick of the battle to make the NCAA Tourney. At 74 years old Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim has put together another great season. Despite recent losses to top-five Duke and North Carolina, the Orange sport an 18-10 record and are 9-6 in the ACC.

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ESPN’s bracketologist Joe Lunardi has ‘Cuse as an eight seed in the West Region. The Orange are led on offense by guard Tyus Battle from Edison, NJ, who is averaging 17.6 points per game. In true Boeheim fashion, he recruited the team’s leading, rebounder Oshae Brissett (7.6 RPG) from north of the border.

Syracuse has a few things going for them in their quest to earn a tournament bid. The ACC is the best conference in the country and sports six top-25 teams, Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Florida State, and Louisville. That’s why the Orange have the 13th most difficult schedule this season. Add in the 40th rated RPI, and Syracuse has a good tournament resume’.

Big East Conference – Seton Hall

Seton Hall is the other area team in the Big East. The Pirates have had an up and down season so far, but have a 16-11 overall record (7-8 Big East). Although Lunardi has them in the tournament right now, SHU is one of his last four in. It means they are on the right side of the bubble, barely.

6-2 junior guard Myles Powell from Trenton leads the Pirates and is second in the conference in scoring with 21.9 points per game. The Hall will need all that and more from him down the stretch. Their final three opponents, Georgetown, #10 Marquette, and Villanova have a combined record 59-23.

SHU has to win a minimum of one and likely two of those games to avoid an impossible gauntlet. Should they falter in the next 10 days, the only way for the Pirates to get to March Madness is by running the table at the Big East Tournament.

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St. John’s is in. Syracuse seems very likely, barring a collapse. Seton Hall is currently on the right side of the bubble. Hofstra has a good shot at an at-large bid if they win out and make it to the CAC Tournament finals. All other area mid-majors will need to win their respective conference tournaments in order to receive an NCAA tournament invitation.