INDIANAPOLIS — Syracuse straggled into the NCAA men’s tournament, a lowly No. 11 seed, and so you assumed that meant an early exit for Jim Boeheim and his team, right?
You must be new here.
The Orange toppled third-seeded West Virginia 75-72 Sunday night to earn a spot in the Sweet 16 next weekend. At this point, you might as well go ahead and pencil Boeheim and Syracuse in for the Final Four — or at least the Elite Eight — because that’s where we’re headed.
Five years ago, there was an addendum to the unwritten rules of March that said when Boeheim takes a Syracuse team that muddled through the regular season to the tournament, it morphs into a juggernaut. That, of course, was the year the Orange skidded into the tournament as a 10 seed, considered worthy of a bid by almost nobody but Boeheim, and went to the Final Four. (His fifth, for those keeping track.) The next year, Syracuse was an 11 seed and got to the Sweet 16.
Now here we are.
Syracuse getting in wasn’t as big a surprise this year as it was in 2016, but the Orange definitely had their blemishes. The two losses to Pitt, and a loss to Duke. But they put themselves on the right side of the bubble with three consecutive wins — against North Carolina, Clemson and North Carolina State — before losing to Virginia in the ACC tournament.
Brackets: How are your NCAA Tournament picks looking?
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