Boeheim: Syracuse has better wins than MSU

The Detroit News

As Michigan State prepares for its 20th straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, Syracuse is heading to the NIT.

And, though, Orange coach Jim Boeheim said on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” radio show Monday morning he understands the argument for leaving his team out of “The Dance,” he knows there’s arguments to made for why his team should have been included.

Syracuse (18-14) has better wins than teams such as Michigan State, he said.

“I love Michigan State,” Boeheim said, “but they lost 14 games, and they didn’t have as many good wins as we had.”

Those wins included victories over Duke, Florida State and Virginia, as well as two victories over Miami (Fla.) — Michigan State’s opponent Friday night. But, Syracuse is NIT-bound instead, one season after reaching the Final Four. The Orange also had 14 losses that season.

“Obviously, I thought we did a little bit more this year than we did last year,” Boeheim said. “Last year we snuck in and obviously played well in the tournament. I thought this year we had better wins. We had a couple worse losses (likely including a 33-point loss to St. John’s), but we had bad losses last year. I think the committee’s emphasis this year was on the losses. Last year, I think they’re emphasis was more on, you beat some really good teams. This year we actually beat better teams. We beat a 2 seed, a 3 seed, a 5 seed and an 8 seed that are in the tournament.”

Michigan State, meanwhile, has a pair of victories over Minnesota, as well as victories over other tournament-bound teams in Michigan, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Wichita State, and Florida Gulf Coast.

Of those teams, Minnesota holds the highest seed at No. 5.

MSU also has lost to top-flight competition, including Duke, Arizona, Baylor and Kentucky, but also owns a clunker, having lost at home to Northeastern.