The 2016-17 Syracuse Orange men’s basketball season has been full of up-and-down moments dating back to September when news broke that Matthew Moyer was injured, all the way to March 4 when the Orange closed out the regular season with a victory.
Oh, and everything that’s gone on in between those two events — it’s been a rollercoaster season.
And here we are just days away from the ACC Tournament in Brooklyn. After starting ACC play at 0-1 with a 15-point loss on the road to Boston College, the Orange went 10-7 the rest of the way to earn the No. 8 seed.
And who do the Orange get rewarded with? No. 9 seed Miami, who has notable wins over North Carolina, Virginia and Duke. The Hurricanes finished the regular season 20-10 overall, and 10-8 in the ACC. Due to SU’s win over the ‘Canes back on January 4, the Orange were awarded the No. 8 seed (not that it matters).
The winner of the game will face ACC regular season champion North Carolina on Thursday at noon ET on ESPN.
But with all this build-up, it raises the question: Will Syracuse finally win an ACC Tournament game?
In Syracuse’s first year in the ACC (2013-14), the Orange started the season 25-0 but were upset by North Carolina State in the quarterfinals in Greensboro. Top-seeded Virginia went on the win the ACC Tournament that season while the Orange would eventually lose to Dayton in the Round of 32 in Buffalo.
The following year, SU issued a self-imposed postseason ban. They finished the regular season 18-13 and that was that.
And last year, Syracuse lost five of its last six games including an ACC Tournament second-round game to Pittsburgh, who took the season series 3-0. The Orange went on to sneak into the NCAA Tournament, and well — you know the rest.
But Miami is an interesting matchup on Wednesday for Syracuse. The ‘Canes come in losers of two straight, while Syracuse will be riding high off of a 29-point blowout victory of Georgia Tech behind Andrew White’s career-high 40 points.
Is Syracuse in a position of win-and-you’re-in? Probably, yes. A win would certainly go a long way. It would give SU another top-40 victory, another win over an NCAA Tournament team and it would give the Orange its third victory away from the Carrier Dome.
Not to mention, it would set up a Thursday matchup with North Carolina. And a win over the Tar Heels would definitely clinch a postseason berth. But that’s a big if. Even another loss to UNC would only serve to boost strength of schedule, however.
Syracuse is 17-7 all-time vs. Miami, but just 3-2 vs. Jim Larranaga and the Hurricanes since the Orange joined the ACC.
Wednesday’s game could very well decide whether the Orange goes dancing, or returns to the Carrier Dome to host an NIT game.