Bracketology Bubble Watch: Syracuse sweating it out after loss to Pitt

>> More Bracketology: Bubble Watch | Compare any two teams

There was only one game involving bubble teams on Wednesday.

But it was a pretty big one.

Bracketology

Jerry Palm’s projected bracket

Syracuse came back from 10 points down late to tie, but couldn’t get over the hump in a 72-71 season-ending loss to Pittsburgh.

It’s a sigh of relief for the Panthers, who have now defeated the Orange all three times they played this season. Pitt still does not have a great record against the top 50 (2-6), but is still likely to get in. A win over North Carolina in the next round would seal the deal.

It’s going to be a long week, and especially selection Sunday, for the Orange. Syracuse is now 19-13 overall, and while it has four top 50 wins, the Orange are just 13-12 against the RPI top 200, and that does not include a loss to St. John’s. Their RPI has dropped to 65 at the moment, and while that number alone will not eliminate the Orange, it is a fairly accurate representation of their season. Syracuse finished losing five of their last six, and while they don’t get punished extra for a poor finish, that poor finish did a lot of damage to their now very fragile tournament prospects.

Syracuse fans have been hoping for “consideration” for the nine games coach Jim Boeheim missed, but that consideration, if there is any at all, will not help them get selected. That has to be earned. Besides, Boeheim coached the team during the season ending slump, and his coach-in-waiting was in charge in his absence. It’s not like they put the band director in charge, and Boeheim isn’t scoring or rebounding or playing defense. It would be foolish to count on Boeheim’s absence having any positive effect on Syracuse’s hope for selection.

PITTSBURGH 72, SYRACUSE 71
Panthers status: Probably in | Record: 21-10, 9-9 ACC | RPI: 59 | SOS: 41
Orange status: On the fence | Record: 19-13, 9-9 ACC | RPI: 61 | SOS: 40

>> More Bracketology: FAQs on selection process | Selection Sunday by the numbers

Pitt's Michael Young helped the Panthers beat Syracuse twice this season. (USATSI)
Pitt’s Michael Young helped the Panthers beat Syracuse twice this season. (USATSI)

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