A quick take on Syracuse’s crushing 72-69 loss in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C.:
WHAT HAPPENED: A wildly entertaining back-and-forth game that had all the intensity of an NCAA Tournament game ended in heartbreak for the Orange, as Reece Beekman’s 3-pointer at the buzzer broke a 69-all tie. The largest lead of the second half for the Cavaliers was six, after a Sam Hauser jumper made it 67-61 with 2:09 to go. But like SU did many times throughout the game, Syracuse kept it close, as Buddy Boeheim scored 11 of the Orange’s final 13 points. But it wasn’t enough as the top-seeded Cavaliers will move on to the semi-finals, and SU will have to sweat out Selection Sunday.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse’s NCAA Tournament resume currently looks like this: A 1-7 record in Quadrant 1 games, 5-1 in Q2, 7-1 in Q3 and 3-0 in Q4. The Orange will be paying particularly close attention to the 8:30 p.m. matchup between Virginia Tech (44th in NET) and North Carolina (32nd in NET). A Tar Heel win would likely vault them into the top 30, giving Syracuse a second Q1 win (a home win against a top 30 NET team is assigned Q1 status). Other games to pay attention to today include Wyoming v. San Diego State (root for the Aztecs as they won’t steal any bids) and Georgetown v. Villanova (Georgetown is 85th in NET, and a win might get them closer to 75, which would give Syracuse another Q2 win). Maryland defeating Michigan State earlier in the day hurts, as the Terps were a bubble team that may have solidified its standing.
HERO: Buddy Boeheim, fresh off a 27-point performance against NC State, continued his torrid play, with a career-high 31 points. Quincy Guerrier (14 points, 10 rebounds) and Robert Braswell (10 points) also contributed. Hauser’s 21 points led Virginia.
ZERO: Joe Girard and Alan Griffin combined for 1-12 shoting from the field and 1-7 from downtown. Girard did, however, chip in six rebounds, four assists and three steals.
WHAT’S NEXT: It will be a tense Selection Sunday for the Orange, who will certainly be scoreboard watching from here on out. After Xavier’s upset loss to Butler coupled with SU’s win over NC State on Wednesday, ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lundari moved Syracuse into the “Last Four In” while bumping Xavier off the bubble. But plenty can happen between now and then, and any surprising bid stealers could doom the Orange’s chances.