After seeing what Buddy Boeheim was able to do in the second and third rounds of the ACC Tournament, it seems like the sky is the limit for the junior. Boeheim racked up a career high 31 points against Virginia in the eliminator to go along with 27 against NC State. It’s the best two game scoring stretch of his career.
Those numbers should get Syracuse fans excited, but the fact that SU only came away with one win speaks volumes. Sure, Virginia is a tough team to beat, and the Orange are one Reece Beakman three-pointer away from this article never being written, but if Syracuse can’t win when Boeheim posts 31, the question is will they ever win.
The sad truth is that if Syracuse makes the NCAA Tournament, they’ll likely find themselves in a play-in game. At that point, SU will face an elite team in the Round of 32, if they get there at all (ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has No. 11 Syracuse on track to face No. 3 Kansas). The Orange can only hope for another scoring barrage from Buddy, but the guys around him might not give enough for SU to make a deep run in March.
Against the Cavaliers, it was Alan Griffin. The Illinois transfer had one of his worst games in an Orange uniform, failing to make any of his four shots. Optimists would say that it’s a good sign that Syracuse was even in the game with Griffin shooting as poorly as he did, but it proves that for Syracuse to make a tournament run everyone has to play moderately well. One chink in the armor will send SU packing in a hurry.
Buddy can ball, especially in tournament time. He’s definitely proven that. But he’s also proven that he can’t do it alone, even on a career day. So the answer is no. Boeheim can’t carry the Orange on a March Madness run himself, but he can be the X-factor.