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And just like that, the game was tied.
I didn't think they'd do it. With 1:32 to go, Malachi Richardson hit a 3 to make it a 4 point game. Then Tyler Lydon dunked, making it a 2 point game. VTech added a free throw, but it was Michael Gbinije that hit the clutch shot above, deep for even an NBA 3. That tied the game with 26 seconds left. VTech was unable to score again and the game went to overtime. Syracuse would go on to get their first lead of the game and outscore VTech 12-4 in the OT. Syracuse wins a much needed game at home over Virginia Tech in overtime 68 to 60.

  • There were three monster shots made late in the game. First, Gbinije above tying the game to send it to overtime. Then Trevor Cooney hit another deep 3 in overtime. Then, for good measure, Richardson added a big 3 basically to ice the game.
  • Gbinije had a game high 17 points on 6-13, 2-6 shooting.
  • Richardson and Lydon each had 13 points. Lydon also had 6 rebounds and for the 3rd game in a row Lydon drilled a 3 to end the first half for Syracuse. The last 2 games as time expired. Lydon was also a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line.
  • Tyler Roberson added another double-double. He had 12 points, but more importantly he had 15 rebounds. An excellent night for him.
  • DeJuan Coleman only had 3 points and 6 rebounds, but he played some great defense in the overtime once Tyler Lydon fouled out.
  • Syracuse outrebounded VTech 44 to 37.
  • Virginia Tech, of course, shot better than Syracuse in the game. 39.7% to 38.5%. But VTech and SU did flip flop what normally happens for Virginia Tech. SU shot 32 free throws and made 20. VTech only took 13 and made 7.
  • This was the first game that Syracuse actually came back in, and then closed it out when they needed to. This was a game SU needed to win to stay on the right side of the NCAA bubble.
  • Jim Boeheim is now 7-3 against Buzz Williams, winning all the games against Williams at the helm of VTech, and 4 in a row overall.
Syracuse won, and now they get some much needed time off after playing Thursday, Saturday, Tuesday. SU is now enjoying 8 days off. Just what the Boeheim ordered. But really, this was a heart-wrenching win on a day when SU just didn't have it for 38 minutes. Then, SU was somehow able to get the game tied. That's when the magic happened. Finally.

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Virginia Tech - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: Gotta keep the win streak alive.
Buzz buzz. The Yellow Jackets have left, but a different Buzz returns to the Carrier Dome. Buzz Williams, at the helm of Virginia Tech, comes in trying to end their 4 game losing streak. Syracuse has put in some solid games as of late, but Syracuse needs to win the games they're supposed to. This is another one of those games. It also helps Syracuse is playing at home. Virginia Tech is not a powerhouse team. So Syracuse should take care of business by making shots. Virginia Tech likes to drive and get it done at the free throw line. Which means that they will be attacking Coleman and/or Lydon. That means it is imperative for Syracuse to get a comfortable lead on offense so that Chinonso Obokoh can come in and take some fouls and not worry about stalling on offense from the inside. Keying on Seth Allen on defense will also help the Orange. While, only being an above average scorer usually, he has exploded in the last two games, adding 26 and 28 points in the last two outings. But all that aside, I expect any combination of Gbinije, Cooney, Richardson, or Lydon to continue the good shooting. Virginia Tech isn't known for their stellar defense. And I would think that SU will add a few baskets in transition for good measure. I'll take the Orange again at home by 12. This game is available regionally on the ACC Network at 8:00pm. Check your local listings here. Check if you're blacked out here. Otherwise, the game is available on The ACC website here. I can't get the game on TV so I'll be way behind. We'll catch you on the flipside.

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Syracuse was finally able to hold on and finish the game with a win.
Syracuse has struggled in the early half of the schedule to finish out games. Syracuse should have beaten Clemson earlier, but were unable to hold in in regulation and ended up losing in overtime. This time however, SU was able to keep the lead and win as regulation expired. SU was the winner over Georgia Tech 60 to 57.
  • Michael Gbinije was the leading scorer for the Orange with a game high 16 points. He was 5-10, 2-5 from the floor and 4-5 from the free throw line. He also added 3 assists and 3 steals.
  • Malachi Richardson started out slow, but he finished with 13 points on 4-10, 1-4 shooting. He also added 4-8 from the free throw line and 7 rebounds. He made a clutch free throw to get the lead to three points, but he could have iced the game if he made one more.
  • DeJuan Coleman had another pretty good game, making a few post moves and banking the ball in off the glass. He was 4-5 from the floor.
  • Tyler Roberson didn't have the best offensive game, but he did pick up an SU high eight rebounds.
  • The officiating in this game was maybe the worst SU has seen this season. At the very least, it was the worst officiating in the Dome this year. Unfortunate.
  • SU was outrebounded in this game 40-35.
  • Georgia Tech was 5-18 from the floor, while SU was 6-18.
Syracuse was the better team. But it was barely. However, SU is now .500 in the ACC, and on track to making that NCAA bid. Exactly where SU needs to be.

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Georgia Tech - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: Let's keep the winning at home going.
Syracuse had a huge win over Notre Dame on Thursday. Despite the short time off, Syracuse now turns their attention to Georgia Tech. And weirdly, Georgia Tech is a similar team to Notre Dame in their makeup. They typically outrebound their opponent and they shoot the 3 really well. However, Georgia Tech also averages just over 17 points per game in transition. Stopping G'Tech from running and getting easy buckets will be key to a victory. Playing the same defensive plan as they did against Notre Dame will help as well. Of course, not sure the defense mattered much against ND as the lead was so big for SU early. Not sure if they can do the same thing today, but if Malachi Richards keeps his hot shooting up, and Tyler Lydon adds a few, SU will be in very good shape. Georgia Tech has only managed to beat Virginia in conference play. Which is weird. But either way, I'm picking Syracuse at home. Especially after the way they have been playing lately. I'll take the Orange by 8. This game is available nationally on ESPN U / WatchESPN at nooner. Enjoy.

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The man of the night was clearly Cooney. But everyone was pretty good.
Down goes Notre Dame. A pretty familiar sentiment for Syracuse fans. Syracuse is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings. Boeheim owns Mike Brey, now 16-5 against the Irish under him. So when #25 came in, they left with a loss. But Syracuse played maybe one of their best games of the season. Syracuse dismantled Notre Dame 81 to 66.
  • Notre Dame started off the game ahead 5-0, but then Syracuse rattled off a 23-1 run, that gave SU the lead 23 to 6 with just under 10 minutes to go in the first half. SU never looked back.
  • Trevor Cooney finished with 22 points on 7-17, 3-8 from the floor. He was also 5-5 from the free throw line. He added 3 rebounds and 3 assists.
  • Michael Gbinije and Malachi Richardson, along with Tyler Lydon off the bench, all had 15 points. Generally when two of your starters and your 6th man have 15 points a piece, you're probably going to win the game.
  • Just as ND was making the game close, Malachi Richardson drilled a 3 and was fouled, adding the free throw. A rare 4 point play. Which was a huge momentum change for SU.
  • Tyler Roberson wasn't as productive as he has been, but he added 9 points and 9 rebounds. A very solid day. He also had a tip in where he was THE MOST high up. All the ups.
  • Syracuse outrebounded ND 36-32.
  • For the first time since I can remember, SU only missed one of their free throw attempts.  They were 15-16 (93.8%) from the charity stripe. You'll win a lot of games when you make you free throws at that clip.
  • Oddly, both teams shot the 3 really well. Both teams made 10 from behind the arc. ND only did a little better, making 10-24 instead of 10-25 that SU shot.
  • Notre Dame was the best team in taking care of the ball in the country, averaging 9.2 turnovers per game. SU forced 11 in the game, most of which were in the first half.
  • This was the most complete team win of the season, especially in conference play.
  • SU was listed on most prospective brackets as a "first team out". This is a huge resume boosting win for SU. I would say as of right now they are in the NCAA Tournament.
Syracuse had a big win. But the turnaround is short as Georgia Tech comes into the Dome on Saturday afternoon. But for a short time we can savor another victory over the Irish. And everyone looked good doing it. At least, if they had orange on.

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Notre Dame - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: It's always satisfying to beat Notre Dame.
I'm back. After a short vacation out of state I gave the keys to the blog to John, who drove it admirably. It helps that he got to write about Syracuse beating Duke at Duke. But since the kids lost down at Virginia in a whole heap of snow, I'm back previewing Syracuse's return to the Carrier Dome to take on Notre Dame. Let's get to it. Notre Dame is the 2nd best 3 point shooting team, only behind Virginia. However, despite making a good chunk of the 3s they do shoot, Notre Dame doesn't shoot that much. They would rather go inside. And I'm sure they're licking their chops against a team like Syracuse, who's only major inside threat would probably be Roberson (although Coleman seemed to have a pretty good game against Virginia overall). Therefore, Syracuse has to really commit to defense inside and in stopping Zach Auguste. If Syracuse can limit his touches inside, or force him to take shots he's not used to, away from the basket, Syracuse has a good chance of earning more rebounds and putting them in a better position to win. Additionally, SU needs to force Notre Dame, a team that rarely turns the ball over, into making bad passes so SU can earn some runouts. What can help is that Notre Dame is missing their starting point guard, who was injured in their last game. Which means someone that doesn't primarily handle the ball will be doing so. That could allow for some pressure situations and force bad passes so SU can pick them off. Of course, none of this matters if Notre Dame gets hot and everyone starts taking and making 3s. But pending that, I like Syracuse at home. I'm picking the Orange in a really close game by 3. This game is available nationally on ESPN 2 / WatchESPN at 7:00pm. John is in the building. I'm at the home office. Let's go Orange!

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Syracuse - Virginia Postgame Reactions OR Snowed Out

Obviously taken during gameplay, but, this picture totally looks posed.

Don't blame jet lag. Mainly because Syracuse and Charlottesville are in the same time zone. But in an "unprecedented" gameday travel arrival, Syracuse tried its best to stick to its gameday routine and not let any distractions keep it from focusing on the task at hand: extending its winning streak to four games. A tall task in even ideal circumstances. On Sunday night, Syracuse struggled in a few areas in which it had found success: consistency and defense. But for Michael Gbinije and Malachi Richardson, there was hardly any offensive production. And, as Jim Boeheim noted after the game, the defense at the 5 position was non-existent. To be fair, Syracuse hung with the Hoos for much of the game, but by about halfway through the second half, you just knew they'd never get close enough to make a real run at the lead. The streak comes to an end, as Virginia came out on top 73-65.

  • Gbinije and Richardson scored 24 and 23, respectively, combining for eleven three-pointers. They were the only ones in double digits for the Orange.
  • After that monster game against Duke last Monday, Tyler Roberson cooled off, with only six points and seven rebounds. Anthony Gill really had his way with him down low.
  • Boeheim only went seven-deep in this game, with Tyler Lydon logging 26 minutes, and Frank Howard with five. Sure, there aren't many good bench options. Plus, Syracuse had six days since its last game, and four days until the next, so if you're going to overwork your starters, this was the right timing for it.
  • 39 of Syracuse's 65 points were from deep; so it's no surprise that Syracuse got demolished in the paint, being outscored 30-12. With as hot as Gbinije & Richardson were from beyond the arc -- and you had to keep letting them shoot -- literally anyone else stepping up with any semblance of an inside game quite honestly might have given the game to Syracuse. But, nobody was to be found.
  • Virginia's offense was consistent, and as expected most of its production came from Malcom Brogdon, London Perrantes, and Anthony Gill. They are good players.
So the streak is over. But you really can't be upset going 2-1 on a three-game road stretch of Wake, Duke, and Virginia. Up next is four straight home games (?!) against teams Syracuse could (should?) beat. It's the 2016 ACC, who knows what can happen! Also with this loss, we can welcome back Brian to regular blogging again -- a more normal mix of both of us contributing. Welcome back, Brian!

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Syracuse - Virginia Preview

Syracuse students agree: Snow can be a major headache!

As of the writing of this post, the Syracuse team charter has just landed in Charlottesville, so I'm pretty confident that the game will actually be played tonight. Historically, Syracuse does not beat Virginia. But with the way each of these teams have been playing this season -- and more importantly, lately -- I don't think you can look at historical trends and just let that tell the story of who will win tonight. Virginia comes in as the #13 team in the country, but have three ACC losses -- to Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and Florida State, all on the road. None are slouches, to be sure, but none are historical ACC powerhouses. Meanwhile, Virginia's wins have been impressive -- over the likes of West Virginia, Villanova, Miami, and most recently the surging Clemson Tigers. So, the Cavaliers can beat good teams. Coach Tony Bennett uses a rotation with bench players, keeping his team fresh, and spreading around the contributions -- a luxury Syracuse doesn't have. Malcom Brogdon is the most likely to chuck up a three, so the zone needs to zero in on him. However, if the Cavs get it to London Perrantes, he's successful from deep at a much higher percentage. Anthony Gill can get after the rebounds, particularly on the offensive glass, so Syracuse will have to neutralize him to cut down on Virginia's second chance points. For the Orange, I think you look at the blueprint from the last three games, and just keep doing that -- consistent scoring, attacking the glass, and playing tough, gritty defense. Really the biggest question is how much will the delayed game and travel readjustments affect the Orange? It'll be talked about, but I think it'll be a non-factor. However, I just think Virginia's too tough, particularly at home, for Syracuse to steal a win, so I've got Virginia by four. This game is available tonight at 7:00pm EST on ESPN2 and the WatchESPN app. I'll have a 2-TV setup for this and the NFC Championship, as I'm sure most of you will as well. See you on the tweets!

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