A quick take on Syracuse’s 93-85 loss to North Carolina on Tuesday evening:
WHAT HAPPENED: With 7:49 to go, Oshae Brissett’s jumper pulled Syracuse to within 76-73. UNC’s Coby White responded with a 3-pointer, and on the ensuing possession, stole an errant pass that deflected off an official for a dunk to give the Tar Heels an 81-73 lead. Syracuse got no closer than five the rest of the way, missing an opportunity for a Quad 1 road win against the No. 5 team in the country. A quick look at box score shows why: The Orange shot 13-23 from the line compared to UNC, who hit 34 of 37 and the Tar Heels out rebounded SU 46-25, including 18 offensive rebounds.
ANALYSIS: After losses like these, it’s always good to put the game in context. Though Syracuse lost on Tuesday, its resume actually improved since its last outing against Duke. SU picked up two more Quad 2 games with Georgetown and Old Dominion moving into the top 75 in the NET rankings. The loss dropped Syracuse to 3-6 in Quad 1 games, but the Orange is also an improved 5-2 in Quad 2, 6-1 in Quad 3, and 4-0 in Quad 4. A Quad 1 loss on the road against a team that’s ranked in the top 10 isn’t going to move the needle too much, and only the Quad 3 loss to Georgia Tech qualifies as a “bad” loss for Syracuse, for now.
HERO: White scored a career-high 34 points on 9 of 14 shooting from the field and a perfect 10 for 10 from the free throw line. Tyus Battle led SU with 29 points, bouncing back from his poor outing against Duke.
ZERO: Brissett missed all five of his free throws and all three of his 3-point attempts. He did finish with 10 points.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse remains on the road in North Carolina, playing Wake Forest on March 2 at 12 p.m. The game is the only non-Quad 1 game remaining on SU’s schedule, and a win would bump the Orange to 10 wins in conference, which would be a good bellwether for entry into the NCAA Tournament.