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State of Syracuse men’s basketball heading into the NCAA Tournament (LINKS)

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The NCAA Tournament becomes another conversation point for “what’s the state of Syracuse?”

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-NC State Syracuse Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

Though we’re certainly not thrilled to be a bubble team every year of late, it has its fun aspects (upsets, apology tours). It also lends to the ongoing narrative around Syracuse Orange men’s basketball, its present and its future — both with and without Jim Boeheim at the helm.

Over at Syracuse.com, Chris Carlson spoke with John Wildhack about the greater “state of the program” and the noticeable dip in recent years (despite still making the NCAA Tournament more often than not).

That piece is definitely worth a read, as are the rest below. They’re largely about men’s basketball and the upcoming matchup with San Diego State. Though there’s some initial conversation happening around the women’s team’s NCAA Tournament trip as well. You can check it all out below in today’s links:

Syracuse AD John Wildhack discusses state of men’s basketball program: We’re still among top programs in country (Syracuse.com)

I think we’re a top-tier program. There’s no question. We’ve been on the bubble more than we want to. I think the sport has also changed dramatically. There’s more good players, and today’s player wants to go to a school where they can play and play immediately. That’s spread out the talent. I think it’s much more spread out than it was 10 or 15 years ago. You don’t see players that are comfortable going someplace where they aren’t going to play the first couple of years. I think that’s had an impact on the game.

Film review: The defensive tendencies Syracuse could exploit against SDSU (Daily Orange)

Syracuse’s bigs don’t often roll hard to the rim off ball screens. Marek Dolezaj likes to slip to the short corner, and Quincy Guerrier typically pops to the perimeter. Syracuse also likes to run pick and rolls from the side, not the top of the key. But with SDSU’s drop style, it could behoove SU to send screeners rolling hard to the rim, forcing Aztec bigs to make tough decisions on whom to guard. Center Jesse Edwards may be an option there.

10 best players on double-digit seeded teams in the 2021 NCAA tournament, ranked (NCAA.com)

5. Buddy Boeheim — Guard, Syracuse (11 seed): Buddy Boeheim has been shooting the lights out of the ball this season. He averages over 42% from the field with a 37% clip from beyond the arch. Boeheim leads the Orange in scoring too with 17.1 points per game. ‘Cuse will have its hands full against 6-seed San Diego State in the first round, but with Hall of Fame head coach (and Buddy’s father) Jim Boeheim at the helm, the Orange could make a deep run.

Still, Syracuse can force deflections in its 2-3 zone that lead to transition buckets. On offense, Buddy Boeheim is shooting 37 percent from the 3-point line and has made four 3s a game in his last eight games. No. 11 seeds are 52-88 (.371) against sixth seeds, and in five of the last six tournaments, an 11 has advanced to the round of 32. This could be the 11th seed to pick this year.

2021 NCAA Tournament upsets: Syracuse, Oregon State and Liberty look to break brackets in Midwest region (The Athletic)

Overall, though, the Orange don’t carry as many longshot traits as earlier Jim Boeheim teams to emerge from the bubble. Syracuse’s strengths are essentially reflected in its basic stats. So are San Diego State’s. And in a year where our basic power ratings are a bit compressed (just because so many strong teams have played fewer non-conference games), Slingshot sees the two programs as separated by just a couple of points.

Under-radar Aztecs prepare for Syracuse, chance to raise national profile (San Diego Union-Tribune)

3 things San Diego State said ahead of NCAA Tournament game with Syracuse (Daily Orange)

Jim Boeheim ‘I don’t see much weakness in San Diego State’ (97.3 The Fan)

Larger than life: New downtown mural hyped as ‘Mount Rushmore of Syracuse basketball’ (Syracuse.com)

A look at SU women’s NCAA tournament history under Quentin Hillsman (Syracuse.com)

After NCAAs, Tiana Mangakahia aims to earn spot in Tokyo Olympics: ‘I need to show what I can do’ (Syracuse.com)

Men’s basketball transfers fulfilling destiny by playing in NCAA Tournament (Daily Aztec)