Why KU jumps Cuse despite loss

Jayhawks' big wins shine as the Orange hit the skids

Updated: March 3, 2014, 1:37 PM ET
By Joe Lunardi | ESPN Insider

Wayne SeldenEd Zurga/Getty ImagesWins over tourney-bound teams like Oklahoma helped Kansas make the jump to the top line.

Welcome back to the expanded edition of Joe Lunardi's Rundown. This series features tournament odds, an element that will take you deeper into Bracketology. Bracketology provides a snapshot of how the bracket looks on a specific day, but through the use of Lunardi's extensive database of previous seasons, tournament odds tell you how the bracket is likely to look come Selection Sunday.

Top-line report

Do you sense a pattern here? For the second year in a row, Syracuse has lost its mojo at the worst possible time. The Orange, after a 25-0 start that mocked their new ACC rivals, have suddenly dropped three of four in mostly ugly fashion. And the one victory, at Maryland, was an unnecessarily narrow escape.

A season ago, you may recall, the Orange were cruising through their final Big East season at 22-4 before losing four of their last five (with the only win coming over lowly DePaul). Syracuse recovered, of course, to reach both the Big East championship game and the Final Four, losing to NCAA finalist Louisville at MSG in the Big East final, and to Michigan in the NCAA tournament.

The question today is whether Cuse can recover again. And it says here that if they do so, it may not come from their presumptive and preferred position as the No. 1 seed in the East. That's what happens when you lose so badly in such a big spot, as the Orange did Saturday at surprise ACC regular-season champion Virginia.

Joe Lunardi | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com