Syracuse Orange (18-11) at Boston College Eagles (16-13)
Yesterday was a wild slate of games up and down the schedule, and you can expect even more action tonight as Selection Sunday is less than two weeks away. Teams are punching their proverbial tickets nightly with big wins, while some are seeing their hopes and dreams dashed with big losses.
Yesterday saw the Florida Gators cement their status as a tournament team as they beat Alabama on the road. While Oklahoma State, Miami, and Baylor also all had significant victories, teams like Rhode Island, North Carolina, and Auburn all took heart-breaking losses. Anything can happen this late in the season, and this field is as wide open as I can ever remember.
Today I will be looking at a team that must win tonight if they want a real shot at an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament when the Orange of Syracuse play the Boston College Eagles.
The Orange of Syracuse will take the short trip to Boston to play the Eagles of Boston College Wednesday night. Syracuse is in a must-win situation as they are currently slated in the first four out on ESPN’s Bracketology board. A win in Boston won’t be enough to put Syracuse into the tournament, but a loss will certainly put a big damper on their chances.
Boston College isn’t technically eliminated from the post-season, but they would need a miracle finish to secure a bid. If they could win tonight against Syracuse and again Saturday at Florida State that would get B.C. to eight wins in the ACC.
Is that enough to get them in? Hard to say, but if they make a deep run in the ACC tournament, it could go a long way to proving their case as well. They aren’t out of it just yet, but they need to win, and win now!
This is what March Madness basketball is all about! The Orange are -1-point road favorites. The game total over-under is set at 137 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:00 PM PST from Conte Forum.
This Syracuse team isn’t one of Jim Boeheim’s best squads. They have struggled in the ACC at 7-9 and must win out to give themselves a real chance at hearing their name called on Selection Sunday. But, Boeheim has been here before and won these types of games so many times that it is hard to bet against him.
The Orange have an OK resume, but it lacks good wins. Syracuse has decent wins against Miami, Louisville, and Virginia Tech but they have lost to all of the elite teams in the ACC this year. After tonight’s game they will get a chance at a big resume-building win against Clemson, but if they don’t take care of business tonight, it may not matter what they do on Saturday.
Most of the fans don’t start checking in on March Madness until the brackets are set, but you can be sure it has started for both of these teams tonight. It is lose or go home, for both of these teams.
For Boston College, it has been a struggle all year long. The ACC is likely the best league in the nation, and the Eagles just haven’t been able to win consistently enough. That doesn’t mean this team isn’t good, they are actually quite talented. We saw that when they beat Duke and lost by just one point to Virginia on the road earlier this year.
If you dropped this team into the PAC-12 or the AAC, we might be talking about this team as a legit tournament squad. But, they play in the ACC, and right now have a lot of work to do at just 6-10 in league play.
These two teams met up not long ago in New York, and the game wasn’t all that competitive. The Orange led the entire way and cruised to an 81-63 victory. BC actually shot the deep ball fairly well in that one, over 45% against this nasty zone defense, and still got blown out. They struggled turning the ball over against the zone. The Orange forced seventeen turnovers and were able to turn them into points on the other end.
Jim Boeheim is known for his zone defense. He has been running it for thirty plus years. Some teams can figure it out and beat it, others can’t. You can list these Boston College Eagles on the side that can’t. Even when they managed to exploit the zone with good looks from deep, it wasn’t nearly enough to keep them competitive. And the best part about that swarming defense? It doesn’t take nights off.
I expect a similar story tonight in Boston. The game will be much tighter as this Syracuse team is not great on the road, but I don’t see Boston College being able to penetrate this zone effectively enough to score efficiently. I expect lots of turnovers and missed shots and see Syracuse taking care of business tonight on the road. This game means the world to the Orange right now and Boeheim knows it and will have his men ready.
Give me the Syracuse Orange tonight -1-point on the road!