A quick take on Syracuse’s 79-53 loss to Virginia in its 2019 regular season home finale:
WHAT HAPPENED: Virginia’s ‘Big 3’ of Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome and De’Andre Hunter combined for 18 3-pointers and Virginia tore Syracuse apart in the second half, outscoring SU 47-19. The Orange went into halftime up 34-32, but the Cavaliers went on an 11-0 run to take a 53-43 lead with 10:29 to go. A 14-0 run followed there shortly after, and Guy’s 3-pointer with 5:28 left made it 69-46, and the rout was on.
ANALYSIS: This loss shouldn’t do too much in terms of Syracuse’s postseason resume. Virginia, ranked both No. 2 in the polls and also the NET rankings, qualify as a Quad 1 game, one that SU was expected to lose. The Orange’s resume actually improved on Monday, jumping to No. 39 in NET after a convincing win over Wake Forest on Saturday. At this point, it’s fair to assume that Syracuse has done enough to stamp its ticket to the NCAA Tournament, and games like these are more about seeding than entry. That said, the Orange has one more regular season game left, a Quad 1 road game against No. 40 Clemson. A Quad 1 win is awarded to any road game in the top 75 NET, and the game against the Tigers is seen as more of a winnable game than was Monday night’s contest against a Virginia team that is likely a No. 1 seed in the upcoming tourney.
HERO: Though Frank Howard only had six points in 22 minutes, this is more of a legacy selection. Howard, SU’s lone scholarship senior (he was in a class that included NBA players Malachi Richardson and Tyler Lydon), was honored prior to the game. It wasn’t always easy for Howard, who struggled through his freshman and sophomore seasons before becoming one of SU’s most consistent players during an improbable run to the Sweet 16 in the 2017-18 season. But Howard suffered an injury prior to the start of his senior season, and never looked quite like the same player. Still, he is someone who has always accepted responsibility for his failures and has been a key reason for SU’s recent successes, providing a calming leadership presence over the past two years.
ZERO: Oshae Brissett and Tyus Battle combined for 7-27 shooting from the field and just 17 points. As a team, SU was limited to 33.3 percent shooting from the field and 8-25 from downtown.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse concludes its season on the road against Clemson on Saturday, March 9 with a noon tip. TV: CBS.