The two most impressive aspects of the 13-0 start Syracuse put together to start the season was the team's margin of victory in those wins and the quality of the opponents they vanquished - particularly on neutral courts. Three specific victories looked awfully impressive when they occurred, the wins over California, North Carolina and Florida.
Well a funny thing happened since SU beat those teams, they've all suffered some setbacks. The latest, North Carolina's shocking loss to the College of Charleston tonight.
Let's look at what's happened to these three teams pre and post Syracuse games.
Before: Cal was 2-0 coming into the game with wins over Murray State and Detroit.
After: Including the Syracuse loss, the Bears are 7-4 since, but their other three losses have come at the hands of New Mexico (off to a strong start) Ohio State and Kansas. They weren't worthy of being the number 12 team in the country, but there are no cringe-inducing losses on their resume.
Before: UNC was 4-0 coming into the SU game at Madison Square Garden.
Since: Including the SU loss, UNC has gone 7-4. Playing a brutal schedule, the Tar Heels other losses have been to Kansas, Texas and the bizarre loss to Charleston referenced above.
Before: UF was a perfect 8-0 coming into the SU game, although the only decent team they beat in that start was Michigan State State.
After: The Gators have gone 3-3 since, with losses coming to Richmond and South Alabama in addition to losing to the cuse. Of course, that record should be 2-4, as they needed this shot to beat North Carolina State on Sunday.
What's it all mean? Probably not too much. North Carolina and Cal are off to slower starts than some expected and Florida has come back to earth after a hot, and possibly fraudulent, start. If Syracuse continues to play at a high level and puts together a good season in brutal Big East, the team's RPI will be high and a high NCAA tourney seed will be secured.
Besides, North Carolina is a young team that's been nicked up, they'll be pretty good by March. Cal is playing in the PAC 10 which is tur-a-ble, so its not unreasonable to think they can beat up on teams in that conference and put together a respectable season. As for Florida, I wouldn't be shocked if they win the SEC or miss the tournament altogether. I have no read on them right now, but the win certainly doesn't hurt SU.
The most under rated win on SU's resume to date? That's another team from Upstate NY -- Cornell. They could easily upset a team or two in the Big Dance.