Homecollege basketball

Syracuse among teams most likely to be snubbed on Selection Sunday

Profile Picture: Andrew Champagne

March 12th, 2021

We’re just a few days away from Selection Sunday, and chatter about bubble teams has picked up considerably. Conference tournaments are playing out, and squads are running out of chances to pick up quality wins and punch tickets to March Madness.

Not every bubble team can be optimistic heading into the big day, though, and this list focuses on five of those teams. We’re not on the selection committee, and we won’t be in the room on Sunday, but if you’re a fan of any of the squads we talk about below, you’re probably sweating bullets.

5. Syracuse (16-9)

Would it be a stunner if the 16-9 Orange made the field of 68? No, but Syracuse fans can’t be too confident. While Jim Boeheim’s bunch did win nine games in ACC play, they were swept by Virginia (a very good team), Clemson (a decent team), and Pittsburgh (a definitively-mediocre team). A win over the Cavaliers in the ACC Tournament would have done a lot to help their cause, but Syracuse fell short, 72-69.

4. Boise State (18-8)

The Broncos moved to 18-4 after a sweep of Mountain West rival Utah State last month, and they weren’t hurt much by a pair of close losses on the road against nationally-ranked San Diego State. All they had to do was keep the wheels from falling off. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened, as Boise State lost to lowly Fresno State before being bounced out of the conference tournament by Nevada.

Now 18-8 with their best non-conference win being at BYU, the outlook seems bleak for a team that looked poised just a few short weeks ago.

3. Memphis (15-7)

Memphis came out on the losing end of what may have been college basketball’s game of the year. The Tigers went to Houston in search of a much-needed quality win, played hard for 40 minutes, and tied the game when Boogie Ellis hit a three with virtually no time left on the clock…only for the Cougars to celebrate following a miraculous half-court bank shot that beat the buzzer.

It was a brutal beat suffered by a good team, one that now likely needs to win the American Athletic Conference tournament in order to go dancing.

2. Xavier (13-8)

This one hurts. Xavier knocked off No. 11 Creighton last month to move to 13-5 on the season. The Musketeers looked well on their way to a tournament bid, even after a subsequent loss to Georgetown. However, Xavier then dropped their regular season finale at Marquette before blowing a 19-point lead over Butler in their lone Big East Tournament game.

What once looked like a very solid resume with wins over Creighton, Oklahoma, and 21-7 MAC favorite Toledo now has major holes, ones that may keep Xavier out of March Madness.

1. Duke (13-11)

Look, this almost feels like cheating, but I can’t simply ignore what happened to the Blue Devils. Duke likely needed to win the ACC Tournament in order to make the NCAA Tournament, and they blew out Boston College before upsetting Louisville (a possible tournament team) to advance to the quarterfinals.

That game against Florida State, however, was cancelled when Duke had a COVID-19 case within the program. The Seminoles moved on, and the Blue Devils are now on the outside looking in.