Syracuse defeated NC State in the second round of the ACC Tournamemt, 89-68. Here’s what we learned from the win:
HOT SHOOTING LEADS SYRACUSE TO THE WIN
Both NC State and Syracuse were bubble teams in desperate need of a win to pad their resumes as Selection Sunday nears. The Orange and Wolfpack jumped out to hot starts offensively, with the Orange heading into halftime up 43-38.
Coming out of halftime, the Orange started on a 10-0 run fueled by three consecutive 3-pointers from Quincy Guerrier, Alan Griffin and Joe Girard III to take a 53-38 with 17:32 to go.
Syracuse was able to use the hot shooting of Buddy Boeheim as well, as he finished with 27 points on 6-12 shooting from 3. Overall, the Orange shot 14-29 from downtown and 56.7 from the field in the rout.
Besides, Buddy Boeheim, four other Orange were in double figures, including Guerrier (12), Griffin (12), Girard (14) and Robert Braswell (11).
“It was a really good offensive game,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. “Maybe our best this year.”
WHERE SU’S RESUME STANDS AFTER THE WIN
Syracuse was mostly written off from any NCAA Tournament discussion following two straight road losses to Georgia Tech and Duke in what were Quadrant 1 games.
Since then, the Orange has rattled off three straight wins in Quadrant 2 games, including the win against the Wolfpack. A Q2 win is awarded for a win against a top 100 NET team on a neutral court, and as of Wednesday, NC State was ranked 68th.
Syracuse should also be paying attention to NC State’s NET ranking, because they must stay inside the top 75 in NET for SU to hold on to its loan Q1 win of the season. Syracuse defeated NC State on the road in February, and a Q1 win is assigned to a top 75 NET road win.
As it currently stands, the Orange has a 1-6 record in Q1 games, 5-1 in Q2, 7-1 in Q3 and 3-0 in Q4.
“Our seven Q1 games were all on the road,” Boeheim said. “I think when you look at our profile, we have a lot of good wins against good teams. I think we’ve done enough to get in but we’ll see.”
» Related: Syracuse needs two ACC Tournament wins says ESPN analyst
WHAT’S LEFT TO DO
With the win, Syracuse advances to the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament for a game against top-seeded Virginia. The Cavaliers are the highest ranked NET team in the ACC, ranked 12th.
While the win against NCST might be enough to push the Orange into the field of 68, a win against Virginia would seal a bid for Syracuse.
“We’ve got a great challenge tomorrow,” Boeheim said. “Virginia’s really good. We’ll have our hands full tomorrow.”
Currently, according to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, Syracuse has a 88% chance of making the tournament according to BPI. That number would only climb with a win over the Cavaliers, though the Orange will be heavy underdogs heading into Thursday’s noon matchup.
Lundari also considers Syracuse among the first four out of the tournament, with Xavier in the last spot.
Xavier plays Butler later on Wednesday in a game that Syracuse will be paying particular attention to.
All the remaining games in the ACC’s second round have implications for the Orange, as well. The Orange previously defeated Clemson and North Carolina at the Carrier Dome, but the two schools sit in the 30s, meaning that they currently only qualify as Q2 wins, since a top 30 NET win is required for a Q1 game.
Clemson plays Miami immediately following Syracuse’s game against NCST, while the Tar Heels match up against Notre Dame in the 9 p.m. game. Duke and Louisville in the 6:30 p.m. game can only help Syracuse, as both teams are considered on the bubble.
“The games we lost, they’re all tough games,” Boeheim said. “You can lose those games [and still make the NCAA Tournament].”
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