Only two weeks ago, Syracuse had an unbeaten record, a near-unanimous No. 1 ranking in both polls and a firm grip on first place in the ACC and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Somehow, someway, the fading Orange have already surrendered the league title and are probably now closer to a No. 3 seed than a No. 1.
A 67-62 home loss to Georgia Tech on Tuesday night was Syracuse's fourth loss in five games and its second home loss to an opponent with a sub-150 RPI. The Orange have lost to Boston College, Duke, Virginia and now Georgia Tech, with only a two-point road win at Maryland staving off a five-game losing streak.
Syracuse concludes the regular season with a tricky road game at Florida State before playing in its inaugural ACC tournament. Not only is a No. 1 seed now a long shot even if the Orange were to emerge from their tailspin and reel off four straight wins, Syracuse also probably needs to avoid anymore bad losses to have a realistic chance at a No. 2.
It won't matter what seed Syracuse gets if it can't fix its offensive woes. The Orange shot 39.1 percent from the floor on Tuesday, the sixth straight game they've failed to eclipse 40 percent.
Some of it the health of Jerami Grant, who sat out against Georgia Tech after playing only 13 minutes both of the previous two games. Some of it the month-long slump of Trevor Cooney, Syracuse's lone perimeter shooting threat. And some of it is that the Orange simply aren't very deep as only seven guys played on Tuesday and neither Michael Gbinije nor Tyler Roberson bring much in the way of perimeter offense.
All that adds up to Syracuse not having many capable options besides C.J. Fair and Tyler Ennis. Those two combined for 46 of Syracuse's 62 points on Tuesday, but the Orange needed a near-collapse down the stretch from Georgia Tech to even get within striking distance late.
Not even ill-advised shots and missed free throws from the Yellowjackets were enough to save the Orange.
Syracuse once was the masters of the close win. Now it's evening out at the worst possible time.
- Sports & Recreation