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The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

Syracuse Loses to Boston College–Yikes!

The Confidential just spent 1,000 words explaining that Syracuse deserved to be 25-0.  They most certainly did–even with their flaws.  But those flaws came out in full force in a loss to Boston College last night.  And now Syracuse most certainly deserves to be 25-1.  Only the specifics of that “1” are such that there is significant cause for concern.  And perhaps even relief.  Here is why.

If you are a Syracuse fan, you MUST be concerned… in the back of your mind… about this team being a #1 seed.  No #1 seed in the modern era has lost to a #16 seed.  Syracuse was the first #2 seed to lose, it does not want to also be the first #1 seed to lose.  That tiny voice has to be there.  At least for any Syracuse fan old enough to remember Richmond.  Could any Syracuse fan be confident in a #1-#16 game?  Maybe going into BC, only a the most glass-half-empty pessimist would openly say so.  Post-BC, that tiny voice is not so tiny.

Nobody doubts that Syracuse can beat anyone in the country.  A 25-0 team can win 6 games and win the national championship.  No question.  None.

But the BC loss shows that Syracuse can lose to just about anyone–certainly anyone good enough to make the Big Dance.  Really, it is hard to argue that Boston College is necessarily better than a #16 seed?

Boston College was 6-19.  This was a team that beat Virginia Tech (a 9-16 team) twice, as well as a 14-13 Washington and a 10-16 Florida Atlantic (by 3).  Those were the GOOD wins.  The other two wins included an overtime win against 4-22 Sacred Heart and win over Philadelphia.  What’s Philadelphia’s record?  ESPN does not know–although they are apparently called the “Philadelphia Univers Rams.”  See ESPN.  They are a Division II team–somehow, Boston College had to dip outside the 300+ Division I schools to find itself a win. What #16 team will have a worse collection of wins than that?

In fairness, looking at Boston College’s schedule, it is hard to find bad losses too, especially in the out-of-conference schedule.  USC is 10-15, but that was a road game.  As was the game against 12-12 Auburn (who took #2 Florida to the wire last night).  Harvard was 20-4.  Toledo is 19-4.  Providence is 17-10.  UMass is 20-5.  UConn is 20-5.  Purdue is 15-10.   In fact, if you look at RPI… Syracuse losing to Boston College gives Syracuse a worse loss than any of Boston College’s losses–all of which were to teams with an RPI in the top 150 (beating Boston College helped all those teams though).  Even with the win, Boston College is 170.

But throw out whether BC is better than its 6-19 record.  If you can lose to a team with 19 losses, you can lose to a team that is seeded #16.  The Confidential cannot prove it because it is not aware of a #1 seed losing to a team with such a record during the regular season.  And it is not about to engage in that research.  You can.  Prove us wrong.  We’ll stick with our hunch.

Of course, last night’s loss means nothing if Syracuse makes a deep run in March.  Last night’s loss means everything if the team does not regroup.  It still controls its own destiny.  And it may be better for Syracuse to take a step back right now, regroup, and get hot again in March.  Better to be a “hot” #3 seed (see 2003) than a cold #1 seed.

The bottom line is that is scary to be a Syracuse fan this year.  Not because it is not good enough to win a national title.  But because it now appears that any team in the field could prevent them from winning that national title.  Even a #16 seed.  What was a team of destiny 24 hours ago is now a team that was dumped by destiny.  This was not a “wake up call,” this was getting dragged into the shower to be greeted by ice cold water.  For the team and its fans.

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9 thoughts on “Syracuse Loses to Boston College–Yikes!

  1. M. Caffrey on said:

    Syracuse almost became the first #1 seed to lose to a 16-seed two years ago after squeaking by UNC Asheville.

    Here’s the way I look at last night’s loss… First, Boston College needed 9 three-pointers in the 2nd half in order to win. Most teams, even under the best of circumstances, are not going to hit that many shots from long range.

    So I’m not terribly worried, especially if SU can clean-up their game around the rim. As it was, we were a 3-foot jumper away from winning the game.

    What really pisses me off though is that I’m sick-and-tired of these inferior teams slowing down the game. One of the reasons that Duke/SU was such a great game was that the teams were evenly matched and played fast & loose. It’s better for the fans and the game experience.

    Perhaps the NCAA should consider reducing the shot clock to 24 seconds like in the NBA.

    • I hate the 24-second shot clock. 35 is fine. I’d rather watch 100 ACC games than 1 NBA game.

      • M. Caffrey on said:

        What does the 24-second shotclock have to do with hating the NBA?

        Considering that the players in the NBA are more proficient than college players, the NCAA should have the shorter period. Waiting 25-30 seconds between missed shots in the NCAA is boring.

        • Last night was real basketball to me. An offense probing for the best shot… making the opponent play a full 35 seconds of defense. If BC was just launching any shot, that would be annoying. But they ended up getting open shots. Blame it on Syracuse, not BC. Playing defense for 30 seconds is not enough.

          If the NBA is more proficient, the NBA should have the shorter period. Expecting 18-22 year olds to get off a good shot in less time than the 19-39 year olds in the NBA seems unreasonable.

          The NBA’s offensive schemes are boring–relying solely on athleticism. In the NCAA, you can win using fast-paced offense (Duke), slow-paced offense (Wisconsin), aggressive press defense (Louisville), zone defense (Syracuse), and all other combinations. Again, if a team cannot handle a slow-paced offense, it need only blame itself.

        • I agree with, I like the different styles of play with the college shot clock.

          This season has shown that anyone can lose to anyone on any given night. There hasnt been any dominate teams really. Syracuse still is my number one. The lose will prove to be a blessing I believe since it relieves the pressure of going undefeated.

        • M. Caffrey on said:

          How about this: 35 second shot clock when you go full-court, 25 second shot clock for all half-court resets.

  2. Not concerned about Syracuse as a 1 vs. a 16 at all. BC won’t be in the NCAA, but they’ll still be better than whatever mini-major conference tourney winner Syracuse gets handed to open the NCAA. 16s have never won for a reason..because they’re just not good enough, even through all the almosts and not quites. And you cite Syracuse “almost” losing to UNC-Asheville. UConn “almost” lost to Albany not too long ago. So let’s not make like SU is the only #1 to have struggled to put a 16 away.

    • All the more reason to be concerned. The gap between #1 and #16 is narrowing.

      Are you sure BC is that much better than the typical #16 seed? If Syracuse ran the table and/or was overall #1, sure… good chance of a terrible team getting the slot.

      But if Syracuse drops a few of the tough games left on the slate and was a 3rd or 4th #1… what if they were matched up with Akron in Buffalo. A 20+ win team located 3 hours away. Maybe a 15, but given a 16 to stay local. Big Akron crowd. Etc.

      As a Syracuse fan, I most definitely do not want us to be the first #1 seed to go down. If this team cannot dominate THAT BC TEAM, I do not want them to be a #1 seed. Losing to that BC team at home? Nah. Give me a #2 in the East with Buffalo and MSG and that is fine with me.

    • M. Caffrey on said:

      And you cite Syracuse “almost” losing to UNC-Asheville. UConn “almost” lost to Albany not too long ago. So let’s not make like SU is the only #1 to have struggled to put a 16 away.

      I never said Syracuse wasn’t the only team to narrowly avoid beating a 16-seed, just pointing out they were perilously close to being the first.

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