Syracuse pulled out a big victory at home against Wake Forest on Sunday (and a strong backdoor cover) by the final score of 78-70. With the win, the bubble boys live to fight another day. So, let‚Äôs breakdown the three biggest takeaways from this much-needed victory.
Tyus Battle Can Do No Wrong
Battle has been phenomenal all season for Syracuse. But, Sunday was perhaps the best game of his young career. The sophomore stud didn‚Äôt quite reach his career-high (37 pts against Florida State). However, his 34 points all came in regulation, unlike the FSU game which went to double overtime. If Battle finishes the season with a couple more alpha-male performances like Sunday he will at the very least get some votes for All-ACC first team. If I had to guess, I‚Äôd say the first-team backcourt spots will go to two or three of the following six players
|Points Per Game||FG%||3P%|
|Joel Berry (UNC)||17.4||.392||.352|
|Jerome Robinson (BC)||20.4||.506||.466|
|Ty Jerome (UVA)||9.9||.427||.389|
|Tyus Battle (SU)||19.7||.423||.321|
|Kyle Guy (UVA)||15.3||.407||.390|
|Bryant Crawford (WF)||16.4||.394||.364|
I‚Äôd be surprised if Joel Berry didn‚Äôt get one of those spots. The UNC point-guard’s numbers aren‚Äôt eye popping and he actually probably played better in his junior season but his name recognition still has a lot of pull. It‚Äôs also hard to imagine Virginia doesn‚Äôt end up with a single player in the All-ACC first team after the unprecedented season its having. Regardless, Battle is in the conversation and has a decent chance of becoming just the third Syracuse player to ever receive first team All-ACC honors (C.J. Fair in 2014 and Rakeem Christmas in 2015).
The only downside to Battle‚Äôs past two games…his draft stock is rising again.
Bourama Sidibe Might Be SU‚Äôs X Factor
With Matt Moyer out with an ankle injury Sunday, It looked like it was going to be a complete doomsday scenario for SU. If Sidibe‚Äôs knees held him out again, the Orange‚Äôs only bench option would‚Äôve been former walk-on Braden Beyer. However, Sidibe was able to go and played a fantastic game. The SU freshmen didn‚Äôt wow the stat sheet like he did against Pittsburgh, but he gave Syracuse another force down low, which was especially big considering Wake has as much size as anyone in the ACC not named Duke.
Unfortunately, Sidibe doesn‚Äôt get much time to rest before SU‚Äôs next matchup against NC State Wednesday night. Who knows if he will see minutes in that one, but one thing’s for sure: when Paschal Chukwu and Sidibe are both healthy SU has one of the most fearsome center duos in the ACC.¬†
Boeheim Delivered A Vintage Presser
The Hall-of-Famer, in typical fashion, interrupted a couple of the media‚Äôs questions Sunday. If you haven‚Äôt seen it, here‚Äôs the full 10-minute interview that was simply Boeheim being Boeheim. However, joking aside, perhaps Boeheim‚Äôs biggest shot of the entire press conference was at one of his own players. When asked about Moyer, Boeheim simply said ‚ÄúI don‚Äôt know what happened,‚Äù and went on to question the SU forward‚Äôs decision not to play.
‚ÄúHe looked fine in practice the last two days,‚Äù Boeheim said. ‚ÄúHe can‚Äôt jump really off one leg, but I had bad ankles and you can go jump off two.‚Äù
Boeheim said Moyer‚Äôs father told his son not to play and added that ‚ÄúI don‚Äôt play somebody when they don‚Äôt want to play.‚Äù