In a game that the Orange might have needed to have to secure an NCAA tournament bid, the old problems doomed Syracuse. The Orange had very little off-ball movement on offense and some key players went missing when they had the ball. John Gillon was held to zero, yes, zero points in the fist half. Tyler Lydon was held to three, and was 1-4 from the field. Andrew White III and Tyus Battle were forced to do the heavy lifting on offense but they can only do so much.
The Orange allowed the Hurricanes to get open looks from beyond the arc and the Canes did a good job closing down Syracuse shooters. Miami went 6-11 (54%) from three in the first half and the Orange went just 3-8. Miami shot 62% from the field in the first twenty minutes and the Orange had very little answer for any of the Hurricanes big scorers.
The Orange were undoubtedly better in the second half, particularity on the defensive side of the ball but they still weren’t good enough. Every time that the Orange clawed their way back into the game (and they did that several times), the Hurricanes seemed to hit a huge shot and re-seized the game’s momentum. A microchosm of the game was Syracuse’s final possession. The Orange got the ball with about ten seconds left trailing by three points and John Gillon took the ball the length of the floor before pulling up, taking a hideous shot and having it go nowhere near in.
Gillon was poor for the entire game. He finished the game with eight points on 3-9 shooting. He only hit one three pointer. And he didn’t come close to hitting the one that mattered most. The Hurricanes entered Wednesday’s game 2-11 on the season when giving up 70 or more points so 70 had to be the number that the Orange shot for. They scored 57.
It was an ugly way to end this part of the season and possibly the entire season. It is impossible to know if Syracuse will be included in the field of 68 when the bracket is revealed on Sunday. Syracuse fans should certainly start rooting for the favorites in every conference tournament.
Boeheim said he did not have an opinion on Syracuse’s NCAA chances. But he gave his nonexistent opinion anyway.
“It doesn’t matter what I think… I don’t have an opinion. Every coach of a bubble team thinks their team should get in,” he began before saying, “”We have better wins than last year. We have more. I know our profile is better this year than last year.”
That last statement is certainly up for debate but Syracuse does have a case to make it. They have a similar case to be left out.
Whatever happens on Sunday, Syracuse fans are surely disappointed in the season from the “best team” that Jim Boeheim has had in years.