Big East Tournament 2012: Syracuse Orange Must Take Tourney to Secure No. 1 Seed

Jeff ChaseSenior Analyst IIMarch 5, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 11:  Kris Joseph #32 of the Syracuse Orange reacts against the Villanova Wildcats at the Wells Fargo Center on January 11, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
Chris Chambers/Getty Images

While things look all fine and dandy for the Syracuse Orange heading into March Madness, the team must still capture the Big East title to secure their spot as a No. 1 seed in this year's Big Dance.

There is no doubt that the Orange are one of the best teams in the country. With a 30-1 record and their only loss coming at the hands of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish back on Jan. 21, this team is poised to make some serious noise this postseason.

Still, with so many great teams sitting right behind them—despite having worse records—a disappointing loss early on could really deter the Orange's pursuit to control a region.

KNOXVILLE, TN - JANUARY 21: Connecticut Huskies head coach Jim Calhoun talks to Jeremy Lamb #3 during the game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Thompson-Boling Arena on January 21, 2012 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Tennessee defeated Connecticut 60-57. (Ph
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Sitting behind the Orange on their side of the bracket is No. 9 UConn Huskies, No. 16 DePaul Blue Demons and the No. 8 West Virginia Mountaineers. While none of those teams defeated the Orange this past season, both the Huskies and Mountaineers stand a chance to upset the No. 1 seed in the Big East.

The Orange only played the Mountaineers once this past season, winning that game, 63-61, at home. They will be tested again if they reach the Orange, but UConn can also give them a run for their money.

The Huskies didn't fare well win their first matchup, losing 85-67. In their last game, though, the team almost took away a victory, losing by just two in a close 71-69 game.

As for the Blue Demons, they lost by 19 the last time they played, but you just never know given the way a tournament can end up.

The reason the Orange have to be most concerned with winning it all is because of teams like the Duke Blue Devils, Kansas Jayhawks, North Carolina Tar Heels and the Missouri Tigers potentially having huge results in their tournament to take one of the top-four spots in the final rankings.

The Orange would stand in the best position easily if they walk away with this tournament, and perhaps a loss to No. 2 seed Marquette wouldn't deter their position as well.

Still, with so many teams on the fringe of entering that top-tier, the Orange can't slow down now, as things are really just getting started.


Jeff Chase is a Featured Columnist for the Chicago Cubs and Arizona State football.