On Wednesday, the Syracuse season was on life support. Saturday, it had new life injected into it. The Orange win in Miami took some of the dark cloud that had been hanging over the program and washed it away into Biscayne Bay. SU’s loss to NC State at the Dome on Valentine’s Day seemed to put a nail in the coffin for its March chances. Syracuse had wilted too many times this season to survive a home loss to the mediocre Wolfpack. But in the 62-55 win over the Canes, Syracuse now has reason to believe again.
The ACC may get as many as 9 teams into the Big Dance (according to ESPN’s bracketology) but before Saturday it seemed SU was one of the first teams out of the field of 68. The victory on Saturday inches the Orange up the standings, now sitting back at .500 at 8-8, and an important 18th win. If SU wants to make a case for the tourney, then it has to be at .500 minimum in conference, and since the ACC tournament has been a bugaboo for the program, these late season wins are a must.
Oshae Brissett collected a double-double, and once again Marek Dolezaj delivered the hustle plays SU needed. Give Tyus Battle credit. He had a fairly awful day until a dagger three in the final minutes sewed up the win. A home win over either UNC or Clemson might be the final piece needed to slip into the Big Dance, although an ACC tourney win would be helpful as well. This one was on national TV and on the road against a team that’s also fighting for its March livelihood. It’s been a tough season for the Orange, but this was certainly a bright spot.