ACC Tournament Preview: Syracuse

Syracuse earned themselves the 6th seed and a first round bye in the ACC Tournament. The first game that Syracuse plays will be this Wednesday at 9 pm, and they will face the winner of Boston College vs Pittsburgh. If they win on Wednesday night, they get to face the Duke Blue Devils for the third time this year. The full bracket can be seen here.

This is a favorable match-up for the Orange that fans should be happy to see. Syracuse played both Pittsburgh and Boston College twice this year, each game ending in a victory. It is historically difficult to beat a team three times in a year, but I feel like Syracuse matches up against both of these teams very well.

But, Syracuse isn’t exactly “hot” at the moment. They lost six of their last nine games, five of those losses by double-digits. In Syracuse’s defense, they did have a very tough schedule at the end of the year, playing five ranked teams in their last nine games. Hopefully a game against a less intimidating opponent can get the Orange back on track to make a run.

 

Syracuse has have issues closing out games in the second half, which is cause for concern. (Associated Press)

It’s been a very common theme as of late for the Orange to look great in the first half of games and go into halftime with the lead, but then come out flat in the second half, get outscored by a bunch, and just fully collapse. It happened against Duke, UNC, Virginia, and Clemson. If you were to look on the bright side of this stat, you can say we have shown that we can hang around with some of the top teams in the country. But, on the “not so” bright side, if you can’t come out in the second half and play well, you will never win.

Syracuse only has one win in the ACC Tournament since they entered the ACC in the 2013-2014 season, which was a win against Wake Forest last season in the first round. They have never won a second round game, and since the have a first round bye this year, they have a shot to change that.

In terms of the big picture, which would be the NCAA Tournament, Syracuse looks to be okay. I have seen a lot of projections with them at a nine seed in the NCAA Tournament, which should mean they are safe. But, Syracuse LOVES to play themselves onto the bubble. So if they lose at the hands of Boston College or Pittsburgh, they may have to spend another Selection Sunday on the edge of their seat, wondering if they will get in. But, if they can win and make the third round of the ACC Tournament, they should be safe and won’t have to worry about anything on Selection Sunday.

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