A quick take on Syracuse’s 89-68 win over NC State on Wednesday afternoon in the second round of the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C.:
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse’s five-point halftime lead quickly expanded to a 15-point cushion after a barrage of 3-pointers as part of a 10-0 run. Quincy Guerrier, Alan Griffin and Joe Girard III each connected on shots from downtown in consecutive possessions as the Orange went up 53-38 with 17:32 to go. It was an offensive bonanza for the Orange, as it shot 56.7 percent from the field and 14-29 from 3-point land. Unlike their first two regular season matchups when the Orange won by an average of six points, there was no doubt about the outcome as Syracuse continued to resurrect its NCAA Tournament hopes.
ANALYSIS: The win counts as a Quadrant 2 win (Q2 wins are awarded to wins over to top 51-100 NET teams on neutral courts, and NC State was 68th heading into this game), which gives the Orange a 1-6 record in Q1, 5-1 in Q2, 7-1 in Q3 and 3-0 in Q4. Syracuse should be paying particular attention to all three remaining games in the second round. A Clemson (36th in NET) win over Miami in the 2:30 p.m. matchup would bolster the Tigers’ resume, and inch them closer to the top 30 of NET, which would give SU another Q1 win. Louisville playing Duke at 6:30 p.m. can only benefit Syracuse, as one of the teams will have their bubble burst. And SU should be pulling for North Carolina to defeat Notre Dame in the 9 p.m. game, as the Tar Heels (39th in NET) are looking to enter the top 30 of NET as well.
HERO: Buddy Boeheim’s 27 points on 6-12 shooting from beyond the arc led all scorers. The Orange also got key contributions off the bench from Jesse Edwards (4 points 8 rebounds) and Robert Braswell (11 points, 3 rebounds).
ZERO: Syracuse’s 2-3 zone flummoxed the Wolfpack, as they shot 36.8 percent from the field. Jericole Hellems struggled in particular, with only seven points and four turnovers on 3-11 shooting from the field.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse has a date with top-seeded Virginia on Thursday at noon (TV: ESPN). SU is considered one of the “First Four Out” on ESPN’s Bracketology, and the win over NC State may not be enough to move the needle. The conventional wisdom is that upsetting Virginia, ranked 12th in NET, would be the final push the Orange need to safety stamp its ticket to the NCAA Tournament.