Buddy Boeheim is making the country pay attention to Syracuse basketball right now. It’s not just that he led the Orange to the Sweet 16. It’s more than that. Boeheim’s recent excellence, his relationship with his father, and his newfound swagger makes Syracuse basketball cool again.
While the fans and the program reap the benefits of another improbable run, and Boeheim sets himself up for Preseason All-ACC and potentially All-America honors next year, it’s time to ask a question that nobody really wants to ask when a shooter is this hot. Is Buddy really this good? It’s a question that, when the shots stop falling at the historic pace they are right now, will be asked all over Central New York and the country.
Let’s make something clear off the bat. Nobody is this good. It seems like only Steph Curry could make some of the shots Boeheim has made under pressure, in the biggest moments of the NCAA Tournament so far. Boeheim is shooting 56% from range since the ACC Tournament began. But the hot streak is about more than just his three-point shot. Buddy emerged as an elite mid-range shooter this season, and has been flexing that facet of his game as well.
Since he is still not a scoring threat from all three levels, defenses will likely deny him the ball. That means he will have to work harder to get his shot, much like the way Trevor Cooney used to do laps around the arc waiting for some space. Eventually he will cool off. The main question is when will he cool off.
So when the shots stop falling at this ridiculous rate, Boeheim won’t have many other ways to get baskets. But right now, none of that matters. Boeheim could make a three with his eyes closed. That confidence is SU’s only chance at an NCAA Tournament Championship.