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The Next Three Games Will Make or Break Syracuse’s Season

It’s been a very weird year for Syracuse Men’s Basketball so far. The 13-7 record including a 6-3 mark in conference play look solid, but then you remember losses to Colgate and Bryant and you start to cringe. Those two defeats among others are the primary reasons why Jim Boeheim’s bunch is currently on the outside looking in when it comes to postseason play. But approximately one week from now, the Orange could find themselves in a very different position.

None of North Carolina, at Virginia Tech, or Virginia are gimme wins. You’ve got a pair of those (supposedly) in Boston College and Florida State a little ways down the road. But right now, SU is staring down a golden opportunity for a pair of Quad 1 wins as well as a second Quad 2 victory (the first Virginia Tech game being the first). If this isn’t a season-changing opportunity to bolster your tournament resume, what else is? And the most eye-opening thing of all is that, call us crazy, these feel like winnable games.

Starting with UNC, is championship hangover an appropriate way to describe their season so far? After making a run to the national championship as an 8-seed last season, the Tar Heels began the season #1 overall. Unrealistic? Probably, given that North Carolina finds itself outside of the Top 25. Yes, UNC is more talented than SU, but it’s a game being played inside the Dome. That’s certainly a possible win.

Now Virginia Tech. The Orange beat the Hokies by 10 at home back on January 11, but that score is deceptive for multiple reasons. First, SU led by as many as 22 in the contest. That being said, Virginia Tech was without the services of sharpshooter Hunter Cattoor. Assuming he plays on Saturday, the job gets a lot tougher. But since Syracuse did it once, there’s no reason to not believe it can’t be done again, regardless of venue.

The final test in this set of games is Virginia at home. Even though the final score may indicate otherwise, the Orange’s first showdown with the Cavaliers was a mismatch. Still, SU showed signs, albeit small ones, of being able to compete with a team like UVA. Given that round 2 between the squads is in Syracuse, it changes the complexion of the game. Is it going to be tough? Without question, but certainly not impossible.

When Boeheim was interviewed by Jon Rothstein before the season, SU’s bench boss set the expectation of making the NCAA Tournament. Two and a half months in, that feels like a pipe dream. Not if this next stretch goes according to plan though, because it could make or break this season.

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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