Freshly Squeezed (3/19)

Dancin’

ehdu
Syracuse.com

Syracuse entered the ACC Tournament feeling pretty good about their NCAA Tournament chances for the first time since 2013.

Despite being without leading scorer Tyus Battle due a lower back injury, the Orange defeated Pittsburgh, 73-59, in the first round of the ACC Tournament on Wednesday night. Syracuse trailed the Panthers, 36-30, at halftime, but used an 8-0 run with all 8 points scored by Buddy Boeheim to take a 43-39 lead early in the second stanza. The Orange would not relinquish the lead the rest of the way.

After shooting 60-percent from three-point range in the first half, Pittsburgh cooled down and shot just 30.8-percent from deep after the break. Conversely, Syracuse heated up from beyond the arc down the stretch, shooting 54.6-percent from three in the second half.

Jared Wilson-Frame led the Panthers with 24 points, on 8-of-16 from three-point land, and seven rebounds. Sidy N’Dir added 10 points in the losing effort.

Boeheim paced Syracuse with 20 points, on 6-of-13 shooting, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Elijah Hughes and Frank Howard scored 18 points apiece. Hughes also grabbed four rebounds, dished out three assists, and came away with two steals.

bbp
Democrat and Chronicle

The Orange squared off with Duke in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament on Thursday night. Battle missed his second straight game with a lower back injury. After rallying back from as much as a 17 point deficit in the first half, Syracuse tied the game at 46 on a triple by Boeheim with 13:02 to go. The Blue Devils pulled away down the stretch to win 84-72.

In a turnover plagued affair, Duke outshot the Orange as the Blue Devils shot 53.7-percent from the floor, compared to 48.1-percent shooting for Syracuse.

The real difference in the game was that Duke has the best player in the country and the likely #1 pick in the NBA Draft Zion Williamson. Williamson, who returned after missing five consecutive games with a sprained knee, erupted for 29 points on a perfect 13-of-13 from the floor, 14 rebounds, and five steals. Fellow freshman phenomenon RJ Barrett tallied 23 points, on 8-of-16 from the field, and six rebounds. Freshman point guard Tre Jones finished with 15 points and eight assists.

Howard led the Orange with a career-high 28 points, on 11-of-2o shooting, and three assists. Boeheim poured in 15 points, while Oshae Brissett finished with 15 points and seven rebounds.

Despite the loss, Syracuse entered the NCAA Tournament with a record of 20-13. Howard was named to the ACC Tournament Second Team, while Williamson was named the MVP after Duke won the championship game over Florida State, 73-63, Saturday night.

Battle is expected to return in the NCAA Tournament, but playing without him in the ACC Tournament gave others the opportunity to step up, specifically, Howard and Boeheim.

tbi
Syracuse.com

Player of the Week: Frank Howard

fhdu
The Daily Orange

This week’s player of the week for Syracuse was Frank Howard. After a lower leg injury caused him to miss the first four games of the season, Howard did not play to the form he showed he was capable of during his junior campaign. The senior point guard averaged 23 points on 50-percent shooting in Battle’s absence at the ACC Tournament. With Battle back and Howard and Boeheim shooting with confidence, the Orange just might be poised to make another run in the “Big Dance.”

Up Next: The NCAA Tournament vs. #9 Baylor

For the first time since 2013, Syracuse did not have to sweat it out on Selection Sunday. This year, the Orange were firmly in and earned the 8-seed in the West Region. Syracuse will take on the 9-seed Baylor in Salt Lake City, Utah. Tip-off is set for Thursday night at 9:57pm. The game will be seen on truTV. The Bears are 19-13 overall and are coming off an 83-66 loss to Iowa State in the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals. Baylor is led by Tristan Clark who is averaging 14.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.

If the Orange were to defeat the Bears, they would take on the winner of the game between the 1-seed Gonzaga and the 16-seed Fairleigh Dickinson, who defeated Prairie View in the First Four Tuesday night.

Freshly Squeezed (3/11)

Syracuse amid Two-Game Skid Heading into the ACC Tournament

jbc
Syracuse.com

After losing to #2 Virginia at home on Monday night, Syracuse traveled to Clemson on Saturday in hopes of avoiding two consecutive losses heading into the ACC Tournament. The Orange jumped out to an early 23-13 lead with 6:48 left in the opening stanza following a free throw by Oshae Brissett. Buddy Boeheim connected on a jumped with 14 seconds left in the frame to give Syracuse a 31-24 advantage at the halftime. Bourama Sidibe made a layup with 15:53 remaining to give the Orange a 38-33 lead. The Tigers responded with a 14-0 run, capped off by a free throw by David Skara, to take a commanding 47-38 advantage with 11:27 to go that would prove to be too much for Syracuse to overcome down the stretch. Clemson pulled away to earn a 67-55 win to improve their NCAA Tournament resume in the regular season finale for both teams.

It was an ugly game for both sides. The Tigers shot just 33.9-percent from the field, including just 5-of-20 from three, and turned the ball over 15 times. On the other hand, the Orange shot it at a 37.5-percent clip, including 6-of-19 from deep, and turned the ball over 18 times. The difference in the game was Clemson’s strength on the glass. The Tigers outrebounded Syracuse 45-30.

Marcquise Reed posted a double-double with 24 points, on 7-of-17 from the floor, 10 rebounds, and five steals to lead Clemson. Elijah Thomas posted a double-double of his own with 13 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks, and two steals. Shelton Mitchell added 10 points, three rebounds, four assists, and two steals.

Brissett paced the Orange with 15 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. Boeheim chipped in with 11 points off the bench, while All-ACC Third Team performer, Tyus Battle, finished with 10 points and three rebounds.

tbc
Democrat and Chronicle

With the loss, Syracuse finished the regular season with an overall record of 19-12 and 10-8 in the ACC. The Orange earned the six-seed and a first round bye in this week’s ACC Tournament when Louisville fell at Virginia on Saturday.

Player of the Week: Oshae Brissett

osbc
The Greenville News

This week’s player of the week for Syracuse was Oshae Brissett. The versatile Canadian prospect has failed live up to the standard he set as a freshman averaging only 12.6 points and 7.5 rebounds per game this season, compared to 14.9 points and 8.8 boards a year ago. However, he is still an important piece to the puzzle for the Orange. Brissett’s efficiency has always been a question mark, but his shooting percentage has jumped from 35.4-percent last season to 39.1-percent this year. His free throw percentage and three-point percentage have both taken a hit this season though. He went from being a reliable 78.7-percent free throw shooter as a freshman to shooting just 66.7-percent from the charity stripe in his sophomore campaign. Brissett set his sights on possibly entering the NBA Draft this year, but a major strike against him will be that he has shot just 26.5-percent from three-point range, down from 33.1-percent a season ago. If he can buck these trends, as he did against Clemson when he shot 5-of-5 from the line and 2-of-2 from beyond the arc, the Orange will be poised to make noise in the postseason once again.

Up Next: The ACC Tournament vs. #11 Boston College/#14 Pittsburgh

Sixth-seeded Syracuse will take on either the 11-seed Boston College or the 14-seed Pittsburgh in the Second Round of the ACC Tournament in Charlotte, North Carolina on Wednesday night at 9:30pm. The Orange swept the season series from both the Eagles and the Panthers. Syracuse beat Boston College 77-71 in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts on January 30th and 67-56 in the Carrier Dome on February 9th. The Orange defeated Pittsburgh 74-63 at home on January 19th and 65-56 at the Peterson Events Center on February 2nd. The Eagles finished the regular season 14-16 overall, 5-13 in the ACC, while the Panthers are 13-18 overall and 3-15 in ACC play. Boston College is led by Ky Bowman who is averaging 19.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, and four assists per game, while Xavier Johnson leads Pittsburgh as he is averaging 15.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per contest.

If Syracuse were to win their second round game, they would take on third-seeded Duke in the quarterfinals on Thursday at 9:30pm.

Freshly Squeezed (1/7)

Syracuse Extends Win Streak to Three

ehnd
MPNnow

Syracuse defeated St. Bonaventure to close out non-conference play and open their ACC slate with a triumph over Notre Dame on the road.

The Orange opened their non-league finale against St. Bonaventure with a 17-2 run capped off by a jumper by Frank Howard with 14:08 left in the first half. Syracuse would continue their hot streak into the break as they shot 57.7-percent in the opening stanza to earn a 46-25 advantage. The Orange shot 58.3-percent from the field over the course of the final 20 minutes to pull away with a 81-48 blowout victory. Leading up to the game, Howard said that they were not taking the Bonnies lightly and did not want to lose to St. Bonaventure for a second season in a row—Syracuse made sure this was no contest right from the jump.

Kyle Lofton and Jalen Poyser led the Bonnies with 12 points apiece.

The Orange were led by Tyus Battle who scored 21 points on a perfect 8-of-8 from the floor. Elijah Hughes poured in 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Buddy Boeheim added 12 points on 4-of-8 from the field.

buddy bonaventure
Inside the Loud House

Syracuse traveled to South Bend, Indiana to begin ACC play at former Big East foe Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish raced out to an early 20-10 lead on a dunk by John Mooney. The Orange pulled to within one, 23-22, with 7:52 remaining in the half. Nate Laszewski’s triple at the horn gave Notre Dame a 38-37 edge going into intermission. With Syracuse clinging to a 60-58 advantage, Hughes sparked a 10-1 spurt with a trey. The Orange refused to relinquish their lead and emerged with a 72-62 win over the Fighting Irish. Syracuse now has two Quad-1 road wins on their NCAA Tournament resume.

osbnd
The Seattle Times

TJ Gibbs paced Notre Dame with 18 points and five assists. Mooney posted a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds in defeat.

Hughes led the Orange with a double-double, recording career-highs of 22 points and 10 rebounds. The East Carolina-transfer shot 8-of-16 from the floor, including 6-of-13 from beyond the arc. Oshae Brissett finished with a double-double of his own with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Battle finished with 17 points and five rebounds.

Player of the Week: Tyus Battle

tbnd
Syracuse.com

This week’s player of the week for Syracuse was Tyus Battle. Although Elijah Hughes had a career game against Notre Dame, Battle earned ACC Player of the Week honors for his perfect shooting game against St. Bonaventure. The junior guard averaged 19 points, on 64-percent shooting, and 3.5 rebounds per contest this past week. Last season, he was criticized for his inefficiency on the offensive end. His scoring numbers are down (19.2 points per game last year, 17.9 points per game this year), but Battle has been much more efficient (48-percent shooting in 2018-19 compared to a 39.9-percent clip in 2017-18) thus far. With Hughes in the lineup, Battle has not needed to shoulder as much of the scoring load as he needed to a year ago. Improvements in Battle’s shooting and Howard’s health combined with a deeper bench should pay dividends as the Orange enter the ACC portion of their schedule. Syracuse is now 10-4 overall and 1-0 in the league.

Up Next: Clemson and Georgia Tech

Syracuse returns home for a two-game home stand against Clemson and Georgia Tech. The Orange hosts Clemson in their conference home opener on Wednesday night. Tip-off is set for 8pm. The Tigers are 10-4 on the season, 0-1 in the ACC, and are coming off an 87-68 loss to Duke on the road. Clemson is led by Marcquise Reed who is averaging 19.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 4 assists per game. Last season, Syracuse topped the Tigers 55-52 in the Carrier Dome. This will be the first of two meetings between the two schools this year.

The Orange will return to the Dome to take on Georgia Tech on Saturday evening. Tip-off is set for 6pm. Syracuse will look to avenge last year’s 55-51 loss to the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta. Georgia Tech is 9-5 overall, 1-0 in conference, and is coming off a 92-79 win over Wake Forest. The Yellow Jackets will host #9 Virginia Tech on Wednesday before traveling north to battle the Orange. Georgia Tech is led by Jose Alvarado who is averaging 13.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per contest.

2018-19 ACC Preview

The ACC should be one of the most exciting conferences in college basketball this season. How will it all shake out?

As the calendar turns to October, postseason baseball is in full force, but the college basketball season will soon be upon us, as many teams are opening their campaigns with practices and Midnight Madness events. The summer without college basketball is always long and grueling, but the season is right around the corner.

First, I would like to dive into what looks to be the best conference in basketball once again, the ACC. Here are my projections for the 2018-19 season.

1.)Duke Blue Devils

rj
Sports Illustrated

Duke will likely be atop the ACC again this year. Coach K brings in the top recruiting class in the country with the like of RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish, Zion Williamson, and Tre Jones making their way to Durham. The question mark for the Blue Devils is whether they will be able to generate any production from returners Marques Bolden and Javin DeLaurier. If this team can gel, it will be talented enough to win the ACC.

2.)Virginia Cavaliers

Virginia returns three key pieces from last year’s team that finished 31-3. It will be interesting how this team will rebound from being the first one seed to ever lose to a sixteen seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Cavaliers led by Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome will look to get back on the right track in 2018-19. Virginia’s X-factor is sophomore forward De’Andre Hunter who could be in the conversation for ACC Player of the Year, National Player of the Year, and the NBA Draft Lottery.

3.)North Carolina Tar Heels

Although overshadowed by Duke’s recruiting class only eight miles down Tobacco Road, North Carolina may have the 2019 NBA Draft number one overall pick in Chapel Hill this season. Nassir Little is the reigning MVP of the McDonald’s All-America game and he along with the rest of the Tar Heels, most notably Luke Maye, will look to be contenders in the ACC.

4.)Virginia Tech Hokies

The Hokies have an experienced senior class returning to Blacksburg this season that is one of the most successful in school history. Buzz Williams and company will look to make a run toward the top of the ACC and into the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

5.)Syracuse Orange

Oshae
Orange Fizz

Despite having NCAA Tournament success in 2016 and 2018, the Orange have struggled to finish near the top of the ACC since their inaugural season in the league (2013-14). Hall of Fame coach, Jim Boeheim, returns all five starters, including Frank Howard, Tyus Battle, Oshae Brissett, Marek Dolezaj, and Paschal Chukwu, from a team that made it to the Sweet Sixteen a year ago. Syracuse should be a contender for the ACC title this season and stay well away from the dreaded NCAA Tournament bubble.

6.)Florida State Seminoles

After a surprising trip to the Elite Eight last year, Leonard Hamilton’s team will look to be a force in the ACC this year and get back to the “Big Dance.” The Seminoles have an experienced group that will only get better. Look for sophomore MJ Walker to have a break-out year as he fills in for Brain Angola who graduated in 2018.

7.)Clemson Tigers

In a year where Brad Brownell was on the hot seat, Clemson had one of its best years in program history and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1997. Marcquise Reed is one of the best players in the ACC and will look to build on his Second Team All-ACC campaign from a year ago. The Tigers should be an elite defensive team, but if they fail to make the NCAA Tournament, it will be because of their offense.

8.)Louisville Cardinals

Amid the turmoil surrounding the program left by Rick Pitino, the Cardinals found themselves on the wrong side of the bubble last season. Interim head coach David Padgett was replaced by Chris Mack, who arrived in Louisville after leading Xavier to a Big East regular season crown and a one seed in the NCAA Tournament. VJ King and Malik Williams came to Louisville as possible NBA prospects, but failed to generate much hype under Padgett. King, Williams, and a myriad of graduate transfers under the guidance of Mack will look to make a run back to the NCAA Tournament.

9.)North Carolina State Wolfpack

Kevin Keatts led the Wolfpack to the “Big Dance” in his first year in Raleigh after taking over for Mark Gottfried. This year, North Carolina State will have nine newcomers on its roster, most notably CJ Bryce, who followed Keatts from UNC-Wilmington to NC State.

10.)Notre Dame Fighting Irish

NCAA Basketball: Chicago State at Notre Dame
The Athletic

Notre Dame found itself the first team left out of the NCAA Tournament on Selection Sunday last season. The Fighting Irish will look a lot different than they have in the past as they lost Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell to graduation. TJ Gibbs Jr. and Rex Pflueger will need to step up and take leadership if Notre Dame has any chance of making an impact in the ACC and getting back on the right side of the bubble.

11.)Miami Hurricanes

The Miami Hurricanes lost to Cinderella story Loyola-Chicago in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last year. Following that defeat, the Hurricanes lost Lonnie Walker IV and Bruce Brown to the NBA Draft. Miami returns a core of players from last year’s squad that finished 22-10, but lack the talent that they had in Walker IV and Brown. Chris Lykes and Dewan Huell will need to step up in their absence.

12.)Boston College Eagles

Had Jerome Robinson returned to Chestnut Hill for his senior season, Boston College would have been a lot higher in the ACC Preseason standings. The reality is that the Eagles will need to replace one of the most prolific scorers in the conference’s recent memory. With Robinson gone, Ky Bowman is the lead man for Boston College for the first time in his career. He has been a consistent scorer throughout the first two years of his career, but will need to make a big jump to lead the Eagles in the post-Jerome Robinson era if they hope to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009.

13.)Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Danny Manning is squarely on the hot seat after another disappointing season for the Demon Deacons a year ago. A tumultuous offseason saw Manning lose Bryant Crawford and Doral Moore to the NBA Draft, however, both of which went undrafted. Later in the summer, a member of Manning’s staff, Jamill Jones, was charged with third-degree assault for punching a 35-year-old man from Florida in the face in New York City. The man later died due to his injuries. Additionally, Keyshawn Woods transferred to Ohio State. The Demon Deacons are young and inexperienced. Aside from Chris Paul’s $2.5 million donation to the program, the future does not look bright for Wake Forest.

14.)Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Georgia Tech will be in the basement of the ACC yet again. After the Yellow Jackets went 13-19 a year ago, their best player, Josh Okogie, to the NBA Draft and Tadric Jackson and Ben Lammers to graduation. Jose Alvarado will look to build on an impressive freshman season in hopes of keeping Josh Pastner’s squad relevant in the ACC.

15.)Pittsburgh Panthers

jeff
PennLive.com

The Pittsburgh Panthers are in rebuilding mode after Kevin Stallings brought the program crashing down in only two seasons at the helm. The Panthers were the laughing stock of the ACC, and maybe even college basketball for that matter, a season ago as they failed to win a single conference game. Pitt went out and hired Coach K’s lead assistant Jeff Capel with hopes that his prowess on the recruiting trail could lead the program back to what it was under Jamie Dixon. For now, he is still left with the shambles that remain from the Stallings area. The good news for Pitt is that Jared Wilson-Frame and the rest of the Panthers have nowhere else to go, but up.

2018-19 ACC First Team

*RJ Barrett, Duke

Tyus Battle, Syracuse

De’Andre Hunter, Virginia

Nassir Little, North Carolina

Luke Maye, North Carolina

Second Team

Ky Bowman, Boston College

Marcquise Reed, Clemson

Kyle Guy, Virginia

Justin Robinson, Virginia Tech

Zion Williamson, Duke

Third Team

Ty Jerome, Virginia

Terance Mann, Florida State

Dewan Huell, Miami

Oshae Brissett, Syracuse

Cam Reddish, Duke

*Preseason ACC Player of the Year

ACC Tournament Preview

ACC Tournament: March 6-March 10, Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY

acc logo
CSSSports.com

The Atlantic Coast Conference will host their men’s basketball conference tournament at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the second consecutive year. The Tourney will feature eight teams destined for a run in the NCAA Tournament and teams fighting to build their resume for an at-large bid or to secure an automatic bid.

NCAA Tournament Locks: Virginia, Duke, Miami, Clemson, NC State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Florida State

Kyle Guy
accsports.com

Virginia is playing for pride in Brooklyn. As regular season ACC Champions, the Cavaliers are a lock for a one seed in the NCAA Tournament at 28-2 overall, 17-1 in conference play. Virginia has a chance to claim both the regular season and ACC Tournament title for the first time since 2014, but the main goal for this week is to stay healthy and prime themselves for a deep run in March. ACC First Team performer Kyle Guy left Saturday’s game with a knee injury, but returned in the second half. Virginia Will open at noon on Thursday against the winner of the match-up between the eight seed Florida State and the nine seed Louisville.

Pending any slip-ups in the rest of the conference tournaments, a strong showing at the Barclays Center could land Duke a one seed. The Blue Devils have won six of their last seven, including a big comeback victory over arch rival North Carolina Saturday night. At 25-6 on the season, 13-5 in the ACC, Duke has improved defensively, led by ACC Player and Rookie of the Year Marvin Bagley III, All-ACC Second Team performer Wendell Carter, Jr., and All-ACC Third Team player Grayson Allen. They have the talent to win the ACC Tournament and make a deep run in the “Big Dance.” Duke will open on Thursday against either 10 Notre Dame/15 Pittsburgh or the seven seed Virginia Tech at 7pm.

marvin bagley
sportingnews.com

Miami (22-8, 11-7) looked like they were headed for the bubble after three straight losses to Boston College, Virginia, and Syracuse, but responded with four wins in a row down the stretch. The Hurricanes are a lock for the NCAA Tournament and will look to improve their seed at the ACC Tournament. ACC All-Rookie Team member Lonnie Walker IV has proven to be a go to scorer and a clutch performer. Miami will open against 11 Syracuse/14 Wake Forest or the six seed North Carolina on Thursday at 9:30pm.

Clemson has proved to be one of the best surprises of college basketball this season. Despite losing their second leading scorer, Donte Grantham, to a torn ACL in early January, the Tigers ended the season at 22-8 overall, 11-7 in conference—good for fourth place. All-ACC Second Team selection Marcquise Reed will look to lead Clemson to an ACC Tournament Championship and a possible top four seed in the “Big Dance” that could lead them to a chance to play their first weekend games in either Charlotte or Nashville. Clemson will open against either 12 Boston College/13 Georgia Tech or the five seed NC State on Thursday at 2:30pm.

NC State was once a bubble team, but as the season progressed, the Wolfpack have proven themselves to be a giant killer. At 21-10 on the season, 11-7 in the ACC, NC State has beaten Arizona, Duke, Clemson, North Carolina, and Florida State. Led by All-ACC Third Team player, Omer Yurtseven, the Wolfpack will be a tough out for the top teams in both the ACC and NCAA Tournaments. NC State will open against the winner of 12-seed Boston College and 13-seed Georgia Tech on Wednesday at 2:30pm.

North Carolina is the six seed in the ACC Tournament. Losing to Duke in the last game of the regular season pushed the Tar Heels into a four-way tie for third place, in which they lost all tiebreakers. North Carolina will look to use the ACC Tournament as an opportunity to get back to their winning ways prior to the “Big Dance.” Prior to the last week of the regular season, the Tar Heels were winners of six consecutive games and were one of the hottest teams in the country. Losses to Miami and Duke to close the regular season make it imperative for North Carolina to win at least one game in Brooklyn to hang onto a two or three seed in the NCAA Tournament. Joel Berry II, Theo Pinson, and Luke Maye will look to have the team primed and ready for the Tar Heels to leave their mark on March Madness once again. North Carolina will open against the winner of the 11-seed Syracuse and the 14-seed Wake Forest on Wednesday at 9:30pm.

luke maye
chapleboro.com

Virginia Tech entered ACC play as one of the top offensive teams in the country, but struggled to play any semblance of defense. Over their last eight games of the regular season, the Hokies finished 5-3, including wins over Virginia, Clemson, and Duke. Over that same stretch, Virginia Tech held opponents to 66.3 points per game—five below their season average. As the saying goes, defense wins championships. The Hokies, led by All-ACC Second Team selection, Justin Robinson, will look to prove that true at the Barclays Center this week. Virginia Tech will open against the winner of the 10-seed Notre Dame and the 15-seed Pittsburgh on Wednesday at 7pm.

Florida State travels to Brooklyn as the 8-seed at 20-10 overall, and 9-9 in the ACC. The Seminoles have been in and out of the top 25 all season and closed the regular season with a 5-5 record in their last 10 games. Florida State should still be in the NCAA Tournament, even if they were to lose to Louisville in their first game of the ACC Tournament on Wednesday at noon. Terance Mann will look to lead the Seminoles to ensure a bid come Selection Sunday.

On the Bubble: Louisville, Notre Dame, Syracuse

Despite all of the off the court issues this season, Louisville finds themselves squarely on the bubble as they head to the Barclays Center. If the Cardinals can get a win over Florida State and revenge against De’Andre Hunter and Virginia, they should feel good about their chances of securing an at-large bid. All-ACC Defensive Team member Anas Mahmoud will look to lead Louisville to a bid this week, beginning Wednesday at noon against Florida State.

Notre Dame is one of the selection committee’s greatest sources of conclusion this season. After playing a majority of their ACC schedule without Preseason ACC Player of the Year, Bonzie Colson, All-ACC Third Team performer Matt Farrell kept the ship afloat for the Fighting Irish. Now, with Colson back in the lineup, the committee may elect to view Notre Dame’s resume based on how they played with their star on the floor. The Fighting Irish need to avoid losing to winless Pittsburgh in the first round at 2:30pm on Tuesday, and may need wins over Virginia Tech and Duke to solidify a berth to the “Big Dance.”

bonzie
Notre Dame Insider

America’s favorite bubble team, the Syracuse Orange, have managed to find themselves in need of wins in the ACC Tournament to hear their names called on Selection Sunday yet again. The Orange will look for their first win in the conference tournament since joining the ACC in the 2013-14 season. Second Team All-ACC player Tyus Battle, All-ACC Rookie Team member Oshae Brissett, and runner-up for the title of the ACC’s Most Improved Player, Frank Howard, would shoulder most of the responsibility for earning the at-large bid if they are able to. Syracuse likely needs two wins this week to feel good about their chances to do so. The Orange will open against Wake Forest on Tuesday at 7pm.

tyus acc
syracuse.com

Here’s a look at the 2018 ACC Tournament Bracket:

ACC
accsports.com

Prediction:

Semis: Virginia def. NC State, Duke def. Miami

Final: Duke defeats Virginia in the title game.

All-Tournament Team:

Marvin Bagley III, Duke (Tournament MVP)

Grayson Allen, Duke

Kyle Guy, Virginia

Lonnie Walker IV, Miami

Omer Yurtseven, NC State

Notre Dame at Syracuse

Syracuse Edged by Notre Dame

tyus nd
NCC News

Syracuse was unable to rebound from a bad loss to Wake Forest on Wednesday and lost an ugly 51-49 game to the hands of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who were playing without their two best players, Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell.

With the Fighting Irish leading 49-46 with 49 seconds remaining, Tyus Battle nailed a three to tie the game. Following a steal on the defensive end, Battle was stripped of the ball with 5 seconds to go. TJ Gibbs missed a contested layup in transition, but Rex Pflueger tipped in the put back with 2 seconds left. Frank Howard’s half court heave came up short and Notre Dame held on to win 51-49.

Syracuse held Notre Dame to 20.7% shooting in the first half, but 8 early turnovers by the Orange, who shot 50% in the opening stanza, allowed them to build only a 28-19 advantage at the break. Syracuse shot just 30.8% over the final 20 minutes. Notre Dame used an 8-0 run early in the second half to get themselves back in the game, which put them in a position to steal the win away from the Orange.

Notre Dame outrebounded Syracuse 42-27, including 21-8 on the offensive glass, an astounding stat, given that the Orange rank 10th in the nation in rebounding margin. This is the second game in a row where Syracuse was outrebounded. Jim Boeheim had this to say in the postgame press conference regarding his team’s effort on the boards. “This was the first game where someone really got physical on the boards with us and we could not rebound,” Boeheim said. “We’re not a good rebounding team. That was a myth, complete myth. Noboby’s really gone to the boards, except for the last two games, and when they did we cannot rebound down there.”

Gibbs led the Fighting Irish with 18 points, while Pflueger added 12 points and 7 rebounds.

Battle led the Orange with 21 points, while Howard turned in a performance of 10 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 assists. Oshae Brissett recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Paschal Chukwu picked up his fourth foul with 10 minutes to go. Bourama Sidibe played the rest of the game in Chukwu’s absence. In doing so, Sidibe played in his 12th game of the season making him no longer eligible for a medical redshirt this season. Sidibe finished with 4 points, 2 rebounds, and a block in just 10 minutes of action.

With the loss, Syracuse falls to 12-4 on the season and 1-2 in conference play.

Syracuse clearly struggling offensively and solving that problem will not get any easier as the Orange are set to take on #8 Virginia at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, VA on Tuesday, January 9 at 8pm. The Cavaliers have the best defense in the country, holding opponents to just 52.7 points per game. Virginia is 12-1 overall, 3-0 in the ACC and is coming off a convincing 61-49 win over North Carolina on Saturday. The Cavaliers are led by sophomore guard Kyle Guy who is averaging 14.9 points per contest. Syracuse won the lone meeting between the two teams last year, 66-62, in the Carrier Dome.

Syracuse at Wake Forest

Syracuse Suffers a Bad Loss on the Road

howard wake

 

Coming off a big win over Virginia Tech on New Year’s Eve, the Syracuse Orange suffered a 73-67 setback against Wake Forest on the road Wednesday night.

Wake Forest used a 12-6 run in the final 1:56 to seal the win. The Demon Deacons improved to 8-6 overall and 1-1 in ACC play, while the Orange fell to 12-3 on the season and 1-1 in conference play.

Wake Forest shot 44.6% from the field and 47.4% from beyond the arc, while Syracuse shot 42% from the floor and only connected on 38.9% of their 3-point attempts on the game. The Demon Deacons gave Syracuse a taste of their own medicine as they outrebounded the Orange 38-29, including a 12-6 advantage on the offensive boards.

Bryant Crawford scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half to lead Wake Forest to the win. Crawford added 5 assists as well.

Syracuse was led by junior point guard Frank Howard who scored a game high 23 points on 7-of-14 shooting. In the last five games, Howard has shot 55.2% from 3-point range. He leads the team in 3-point field goal percentage, shooting 37.5 percent on the year. Howard added 5 assists as well.

Oshae Brissett finished with 16 points and 7 rebounds. Tyus Battle, who was limited due to foul trouble, scored 13 points.

Paschal Chukwu continued to play well, as the center dropped in 10 points, corralled 5 rebounds, and blocked 4 shots. With the four blocks Wednesday night, Chukwu has now swatted away at least two shots in 11-of-15 games this season. He has also improved his free throw shooting of late. On the days before games the Orange coaching staff requires Chukwu to make 100 free throws and within the 100, he needs to make 20 consecutive free throws, or else he starts over. The drill has worked as he has connected on 15 of his last 17 attempts from the charity stripe.

Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim commented on his team’s performance in his postgame press conference. “We didn’t do as good of a job on the boards as we needed to,” Boeheim said. “They [Wake Forest] played well down the stretch and they deserved to win.”

Syracuse will look to defeat the Demon Deacons when they meet again on Sunday, February 11 at the Carrier Dome.

Syracuse will look to rebound from Wednesday night’s loss when they host Notre Dame on Saturday, January 6 at 3:15pm at the Carrier Dome. Notre Dame will be without their senior All-American point guard who was one of two players in the country averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds. He suffered a broken left foot in practice earlier this week. Matt Farrell leads all active Fighting Irish players scoring 15.9 points per game and dishing out 5.1 assists per contest. The Orange fell to the Fighting Irish 84-66 on the road last year. Notre Dame enters Saturday’s game with a 12-3 overall record and are 2-0 in league play. The Fighting Irish are coming off an 88-58 drubbing of North Carolina State at home Wednesday night.

Upsets Galore

A Week of Upsets Leads to a Shake Up in the Top 10: Who is Rising, Who is Falling?

Over the past week, we saw many upsets which led to a complete shake up of the Top 10 in the latest rankings. Here’s my take on what happened, if there are any sleepers we should be aware of, and my Top 10 Rankings.

YIKES

Notre Dame, Florida, Kansas

Coming off a tough loss to Michigan State on the road in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and cruising to an easy win over St. Francis (NY), the Fighting Irish suffered a bad loss to the Ball State Cardinals at home last week. Although they have two stars in Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell, Mike Brey has a very short bench to work with. Notre Dame will struggle in games where TJ Gibbs does not perform and provide a go-to third option for the Irish.

After they gave away the game to Duke in the PK80, Florida got blown out on their home court by instate rival Florida State (who is still undefeated) and upset by Loyola-Chicago. Florida was a potent offensive team in their first five games, but have averaged just 63 points per game in their last 3 outings. The Gators did rebound in an early season must-win matchup against Cincinnati on a neural court this weekend. If the Gators can’t shoot the ball like they did in the early part of the season, they will need to play better defensively if they want to stay afloat in the top-heavy SEC.

graham yikes
kusports.com

Following a dominating performance by Devonte’ Graham against Syracuse, the Jayhawks were exposed by Washington in Kansas City and taken down by an upstart Arizona State team at home this past week. The Jayhawks need to be prepared for games where Graham doesn’t score 30 points. Legerald Vick played well in both loses, but the Jayhawks, who play a four guard lineup have struggled on the offensive glass when their shooters are not on target.

CHILL

Duke

Many will be quick to criticize the Blue Devils after their loss to Boston College this weekend, but they are clearly the most talented team in the country and they will be fine. It is always tough to win on the road in conference and Duke’s freshman learned that right away in Chestnut Hill. Duke plays just once before they resume conference play in 19 days against Florida State. Coach K will have his team refocused and ready for the second half of their schedule… Don’t worry.

ON THE RISE

Arizona State, Miami, Arizona

Arizona State has taken the nation by storm this year and have raced to a 9-0 start including wins over San Diego State, Kansas State, Xavier, St. John’s, and, most recently, Kansas. Led by Coach Bobby Hurley, the Sun Devils are poised to be a major player both in the PAC-12 and nationally this season. Senior guard Tra Holder leads the Sun Devils attack averaging 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists so far this year. The Sun Devils host Vanderbilt, Longwood, and Pacific before opening PAC-12 play against in-state rival Arizona on Saturday, December 30.

Tra Holder
AP Photo

After beating Minnesota on the road in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Miami avoided trap games at home against Princeton and Boston University. The Hurricanes will put their undefeated record on the line in the coming weeks as they close out the nonconference slate with games at George Washington and Hawaii and begin conference play at Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech. The Hurricanes have four players averaging double figures including sophomores Dewan Huell, Dejan Vasiljevic, and Bruce Brown Jr. and senior Ja’Quan Newton.

Don’t call it a comeback, but Arizona seems to have rebounded from their disastrous trip to play in the Battle 4 Atlantis where they lost all three games they played. Since returning to the United States, the Wildcats are 4-0 including wins over UNLV, Texas A&M, and Alabama in their last three tilts. Allonzo Trier and Deandre Ayton are the best duo in the country, both averaging better than 20 points per contest. Arizona will look to close out nonconference play strong as they face New Mexico on the road and North Dakota State and Connecticut at home before they open conference play against their aforementioned in-state rivals, the Arizona State Sun Devils.

 

My Top 10

1.) Villanova

2.) Michigan State

3.) Duke

4.) Wichita State

5.) North Carolina

6.) Kentucky

7.) Arizona State

8.) Miami

9.) Texas A&M

10.) Xavier

Feast Week Recap

What did we learn from Feast Week?

Through all the games that were played during the week of Thanksgiving, here’s ten things we learned about the scene of college basketball moving forward.

  1. Duke is better than advertised and is tough to put away. The Blue Devils trailed in the second half of all three games they played in the PK80. Marvin Bagley scored 82 points and grabbed 45 rebounds in just three games and could very well be the best player in college basketball come March.

    marvin bagley
    NBC Sports
  2. Although the Gators failed to put away Duke down the stretch, Florida can out-shoot any team in the country. If the Gators can figure it out on defense, they will be a tough out in March.
  3. Michigan State is deep. The Spartans did not miss a beat as Miles Bridges was limited in the first two games of the PK80 due to an ankle injury. Michigan State will need to limit its turnovers if they want to win another championship come March.
  4. Notre Dame won the Maui Jim Maui Invitational in comeback fashion over Wichita State. The Fighting Irish led by Pre-Season All-American Bonzie Colson and point guard Matt Farrell are equipped with shooters and have depth and experience to surprise some people moving forward. Look for TJ Gibbs to be an X-factor for the Irish.
  5. Wichita State could not hold on to beat Notre Dame, but the Shockers are loaded with talent at all positions. They can shoot and score inside. Landry Shamet is one of the top point guards in the country and once they get Markis McDuffie back from injury, the Shockers will be poised for a deep run in March.
  6. Playing in the Big East, Villanova lacks the opportunities to play in marquee match-ups late in the season. With the disappointing performances by Purdue and Arizona in the Bahamas, rather than coming home with a championship and two signature wins, Villanova had to settle for just the Battle 4 Atlantis trophy. The duo of Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges can play with anyone in the country.
  7. Although the Aggies did not play in a holiday tournament this year, Texas A&M got Robert Williams back from suspension and dismantled #10 USC on the road on Sunday. The Aggies are poised to be in the mix for an SEC title this season, a spot that is more open this year than it has been in recent memory.
  8. The Baylor Bears won the Hall of Fame Classic, defeating Wisconsin and Creighton along the way. Miami transfer Manu Lecomte leads the team averaging 19 points per game. Baylor could be a sleeper in the Big Twelve this year.
  9. The story of the week may have been that Alabama only lost to a tough Minnesota team by five after a fight, a player fouling out, and an injury caused the Crimson Tide to finish the game with only three player on the court. Freshman Collin Sexton scored 40 in the defeat and is averaging 25 points per game. Alabama could sneak up on some people and could be a dark horse in the SEC this year.
  10. You heard it here first. I AM DONE PICKING ARIZONA TO WIN ANYTHING. The (at the time) second-ranked Wildcats were absolutely dreadful at the Battle 4 Atlantis as they finished in dead last. Allonzo Trier and Deandre Ayton have no help. The Wildcats have a lot of work to do if they want to turn their season around and live up to all the hype.
Sean Miller
Twitter

With one of the best early season slates we’ve seen in a while, we were able to learn a lot about the nation’s top teams, teams that could surprise us, and teams that may disappoint. I am excited for the college basketball season to continue moving forward.

Big Ten-ACC Challenge Preview

big ten acc

This week in college basketball features the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. Below is a preview of which games are a must watch and which conference will win this year’s challenge.

Monday, Nov. 27

Wisconsin at Virginia

My game of the night on Monday, is the night cap between the Wisconsin Badgers and the Virginia Cavaliers. Wisconsin has dropped three games to ranked opponents so far this season, losing tough games to #15 Xavier, #22 Baylor, and #23 UCLA. With that being said the Badgers, led by versatile big man Ethan Happ who averages 18.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, will be a tough out for an undefeated, but inexperienced and untested Virginia team. The Cavaliers are led by sophomore guard Kyle Guy who is averaging 15.8 points per game. With the game in Charlottesville, I expect Virginia to pull out a close one at home.

Tuesday, Nov. 28

Louisville at Purdue

My must watch game on Tuesday is a battle between #19 Louisville and #18 Purdue in West Lafayette. The Cardinals, led by Deng Adel who is averaging 17.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, are undefeated, but have yet to play a team from a power conference. The Boilermakers, led by Carsen Edwards averaging 18 points and 4 rebounds per game, finished 7th in the Battle 4 Atlantis. Coming off losses to Tennessee and Western Kentucky and a win over #2 Arizona, Purdue is tested and ready to take on the Cardinals. Expect the Cardinals to win a tough one on the road.

Wednesday, Nov. 29

Miami at Minnesota

#11 Miami at #14 Minnesota is the game to watch on Wednesday. Miami is off to an undefeated start to the season, but Wednesday will be their first chance to play against nationally ranked competition. Defensively, Miami has dominated’ holding their opponents to just 54 points per game. The Hurricanes’ balanced attack is led by Dewan Huell who averages 13.4 and 7.2 rebounds per game. Minnesota is coming off a big win over #25 Alabama in the Barclays Center Classic in which Alabama was forced to play with only three players. The Golden Gophers are led by Jordan Murphy who is averaging 22 points and 12 rebounds per game. Hopefully, both teams will be able to play 5-on-5 for the whole game. My pick is for Minnesota’s offense to overcome the stout Miami defense to win a hard fought game at home.

Thursday, Nov. 30
Notre Dame at Michigan State

Save the best for last. The match-up in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge that I am looking forward to the most is Thursday’s game between Notre Dame and Michigan State. The Fighting Irish showed that they will not quit under any circumstances in defeating Wichita State in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational Championship Game. Bonzie Colson can do it all; he is averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. Matt Farrell is one of the top point guards in the country, averaging 17 points and 4 assists per game. Michigan State has proven that it is deeper than just Miles Bridges this year. With a balanced attack and depth at all positions stepping up to overcome Bridges’ injury to help the Spartans win the PK80 Victory Bracket Championship, Michigan State will continue to be favored in most games this year. In this one, I’ll choose the upset; I’ll take the Fighting Irish on the road. This may be a match-up of my two favorite teams to watch this year and I can’t wait for a great one Thursday night in East Lansing.

I am looking forward to a great slate of games and I predict that the ACC will win the 2017 Big Ten-ACC Challenge. Take a look at the rest of my picks for the Big Ten-ACC Challenge:

Monday, Nov. 27

Maryland at Syracuse**

Tuesday, Nov. 28

Northwestern at GEORGIA TECH
FLORIDA STATE at Rutgers
ILLINOIS at Wake Forest
Iowa at VIRGINIA TECH

Wednesday, Nov. 29

DUKE at Indiana
BOSTON COLLEGE at Nebraska
Michigan at NORTH CAROLINA
PENN STATE at NC State
Clemson at OHIO STATE

*Winners BOLD

**Can’t choose. Conflict of interest