Last season the NCAA had to cancel one of the most anticipated and exciting tournaments in the college and basketball calendar, March Madness, a very busy time for sportsbooks. It is in this tournament that stars like Carmelo Anthony, Stephen Curry, JJ Reddick, and more have left indelible marks that would be their calling cards to the NBA. The coronavirus was (still is) a buzz kill last year and denied fans the pleasure of watching the next generation of hoop professionals swish for glory. Well, not this year. March Madness is here, and the teams had to battle each other for a spot in the final bracket. Amongst these teams is the Syracuse Orange.
Playing in the ACC, Syracuse has always been a staple presence in March Madness. Still, this year’s chances are looking very slim after a heartbreaking loss to Virginia in the ACC quarterfinals. Earlier in the week, the Orange claimed a rare 3-0 sweep, beating North Carolina State in Greensboro. We take a look at the week that was for Syracuse.
Against NC State
The match marked the third time both teams were facing off this season, with advantage to Syracuse after winning both of the previous encounters. A third win over the Wolfpack would have meant a very improbable and rare 3-0 sweep in the same season, and given that NC State was on a tear, riding a five-game winning streak, the odds were slim, but Syracuse got it done. For all the captivating basketball NC State had shown in its last five games, the team had no answer for Buddy Boeheim, who finished with 27 points, 20 of those coming in the first half of the game. The Orange defense was another piece of the winning puzzle, looking the best it had looked all year. Stunned in the first half, the Wolfpack would not recover, and Syracuse would run them to the ground in a comfortable 89-68 victory.
The match against Virginia was expected to be tough, but Syracuse had shown enough in their previous game against NC State that they can defend and make the right offensive plays. Again it was Buddy Boeheim leading the charge for Syracuse and repaying his father’s faith in him, scoring a new career-high of 31 points. The junior has been on a rampage and did not look to slow down, he was electrifying. The stellar defense shown against NC State was off beat, and kept the first-seeded Virginia team in the game until late, when a buzzer-beater stole the night from the Orange.
According to coach Boeheim, even with a loss like this one, his team has done enough to make the bracket. That is still up in the air. Syracuse has had a topsy-turvy season but their recent play has been phenomenal and worthy of the March bracket. However, they did not do enough to control their own fate, which will now be decided by the committee.