Syracuse Visits Boston College In Fight For ACC Tournament Seeding
The Syracuse Orange (16-13, 9-9 Atlantic Coast) have essentially kissed their NCAA Tournament hopes good bye, barring a miracle run in the ACC Tournament next week. On Saturday, Syracuse fell 92-79 to the struggling North Carolina Tar Heels, who at 12-17, reside in the basement of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
On Tuesday night, they will take on the Boston College Eagles (13-16, 7-11 ACC) at 7:00 in the Conte Forum in the first of two road games to close out the 2019-2020 regular season. With the Orange and the Eagles both on the outside of the NCAA Tournament, looking in, this game is most pertinent to the ACC Tournament bracket seeding.
If the season ended today, Boston College would draw the ten-seed and face the fifteen-seed UNC Tar Heels in the first round, which starts a week from Tuesday. Awaiting the winner of that game in the second round is Syracuse, who currently falls into the seven-seed. If you are Syracuse trying to improve your tournament resume with time running out, this situation is less than ideal.
The most updated bracket leaves Syracuse out of the first round, with SU losing an opportunity to add an extra win to the resume. Further, their first matchup in the second round would either be with a Boston College team that will have just played them, or a UNC team that won by thirteen in the Carrier Dome. Both of those potential matchups fall beneath the Quadrant One threshold, and Syracuse's next chance at a quality win would be against Louisville in the quarterfinals, who beat Syracuse by 24 earlier this season.
The current ACC standings are very cluttered, with Syracuse, Clemson, Georgia Tech, and NC State currently grappling for fifth place in the conference, all with 9-9 conference records. Syracuse could rise as high as the five-seed depending on the way things shake out over the next week.
As for tomorrow, Boston College plays a low-scoring brand of basketball, averaging just 64 points per game while allowing 70. This has tended to favor Syracuse and their high powered offense, as they average a whole ten points more per game than the Eagles. Elijah Hughes reclaimed his position atop the ACC scoring leaderboard after a 19-point outing against UNC on Saturday, and he is poised for another strong outing against a flimsy BC defense.
One player to watch is 6-10 junior Bourama Sidibe, who has turned into a different player of late, averaging a double double (12 PTS, 12 REB) over the last three contests. Boston College surrenders 37 rebounds per game and it will be critical to limit the Eagles' second and third chances on offense.
Leading Boston College in scoring are Jay Heath and Derryck Thornton, both averaging 13 points per contest. Heath has made 55 three-pointers to lead BC, and his performance against the two-three zone will be very indiciative of Syracuse's defensive success tomorrow. For reference, Buddy Boeheim has made 90 three-pointers, good for number one in the ACC.
If Syracuse wants any hope of maybe sneaking in to the NCAA Tournament, they must win tomorrow at BC, Saturday at Miami, and at least two games in the ACC Tournament.
You can watch Syracuse take on Boston College tomorrow night at 7:00 on ESPN, and it can be heard on WAER, 88.3 FM.