Syracuse’s NCAA Tournament dreams were shattered on Wednesday night not because they lost on the road to Louisville, but because just hours later NC State upset Duke.
The Orange (14-12,7-8) could have kept treading water even with a loss to Louisville as long as they took care of business in their final five games against some of the ACC’s weakest teams.
It was a race to one of those coveted Quadrant 1 wins between all of the teams on the NCAA Tournament’s bubble watch. Two of those teams were Syracuse and NC State. The Orange got blown out by #11 Louisville while the Wolfpack snagged their Quad 1 win as they disposed of #6 Duke.
Now Syracuse is left to playing the final stretch of their season cleaning up the mess of a bursted bubble.
First up, the Orange will host Georgia Tech (13-13,7-8) at the Dome tomorrow for a tilt that is scheduled to start just after 4:00.
The Yellow Jackets and the Orange have had pretty similar seasons in the ACC. Both have had flashes of greatness, including Georgia Tech’s upset win of Louisville a few weeks ago, coupled with stretches of underperformance.
Georgia Tech is riding a two game winning streak while Syracuse has lost three in a row.
For Syracuse to axe their recent skid and end the season on a positive note with an invitation to the NIT, they will need to go back to December and draw on their 97-63 victory over the Yellow Jackets.
In that game Elijah Hughes led the way with 33 points and Buddy Boeheim followed along with 26
Syracuse will have to slow down Tech’s backcourt duo of Michael Devoe and Jose Alvarado, who average a team leading 16.3 and 14 points per game, respectively.