Second-ranked Syracuse, in its defeat of South Florida Wednesday night, clinched at least a share of its 10th regular-season Big East title. The Orange (28-1, 15-1 Big East) tied its school record for wins in the regular season with two games still remaining on the schedule.
Syracuse also guaranteed itself a double-bye in the Big East Tournament, but Orange fans are not concerned with the conference tournament and, given the choice, would probably prefer to skip the tournament altogether and go straight to the NCAA Tournament.
Syracuse is a virtual lock to get a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament regardless of how the rest of the season and conference tournament play out.
The only goal for the Orange is to get tournament ready.
The strengths of Syracuse are numerous and include unmatched depth, premier transition and suffocating defense.
Syracuse has only lost one game (Notre Dame) the entire season so it would be nitpicking to reason that it has any glaring flaws. Because of its style of play, there are no statistical numbers that definitively prove a weakness for Syracuse.
If they get out-rebounded, they find ways to steal the ball. When they turn the ball over, they get timely blocks. Because of the frenetic activity of its defense, Syracuse has managed to go on massive runs, including the 26-0 run against USF this past Wednesday.
In fact, out of the 29 games Syracuse played this season, 25 included at least one run by the Orange of eight points or more. Perhaps that is the source of Syracuse’s confidence. They know that they can manufacture points in a moment’s notice.
The only thing that seemed to hurt the Orange this season was the absence of Fab Melo, which opened the door for its lone loss, but that’s water under the bridge.
As the NCAA Tournament draws near, there are a few areas in which the Orange can help itself that should go a long way toward solidifying its chances of winning its second title in nine years.
Here are five of them.