Syracuse must fight to continue momentum after Duke win

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Syracuse is right on the bubble this season

As thrilled as I was when the final buzzer sounded in Monday’s Syracuse-Duke game, I can’t say that it means much.

Not now at least. Yes, the obvious benefits are there. It was a win against a ranked team, it was against Duke, and it gives SU more footing in ACC play. But Syracuse, similar to the rest of the country, is playing some seriously inconsistent basketball.

If SU beats Virginia on Sunday, then we’re talking. But until then, I can’t be sure if this game was a fluke or not.

It was the most anticipated game of the season for me. Some of SU’s best games in the Orange’s brief tenure in the ACC have been against the Blue Devils.

This season though, neither team is at its peak of abilities. Cuse has struggled, and Duke has been unable to repeat last year’s success.

Nonetheless, both teams came to play. I figured SU would lose, because why would I have reason to believe they’d win, besides faith.

» Related: Syracuse basketball see-sawing between NCAA and NIT finish

As we know, Syracuse won.

Since then, much has been written and said regarding Cuse’s upset win over the No. 20 Blue Devils… “It was a great win.” “Duke is struggling.” “Will SU or won’t SU make the NCAA tournament?”

But it’s hard for me to jump to conclusions. Shots were falling. Some games they will, and Syracuse will win most of those. Others they won’t, and the Orange will lose.

It’s tough knowing this team is a bubble team. That phrase hasn’t been thrown around much on The Hill for quite some time. It’s foreign territory.

While the Duke win was a great resume (and ego) booster, Cuse must continue to scrap, claw, and knockdown shots. The defense has been great. But the ACC is so tough. You need to play with so few flaws to put yourself even in a position to win.

With Jim Boeheim back on the bench, I’ll give SU the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they will charge to the tourney. There’s still so much season left. So many more games to start hot or cold streaks.

So I’ll have hope. And while a win over Duke should not be crazily celebrated (we’re better than that, we’re Syracuse!), I’ll still flash a big smile thinking about the win.

It was deserved, and it was necessary. It was a victory.

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Rachel Marcus

About Rachel Marcus

Rachel is currently a Digital Production Assistant at ESPN. She has previously interned at SportsNet New York and has contributed to Dime Magazine and covered beats ranging from Big East basketball to men’s soccer for The Daily Orange. She is originally from Maryland. Follow her on Twitter @rachelnmarcus.
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