Give Jim Boeheim and Syracuse credit: they’ve struggled nearly every year since Tyus Battle left for the NBA, and nearly every year, they've scraped into the NCAA tournament.
Since 2020, Syracuse has finished 18-14, 18-10 and 16-17 last year.
This year, they were 3-4 heading into the Notre Dame game and the Irish have been playing well.
So naturally, Syracuse won.
Jesse Edwards shot 10-15 for 22 points and 14 rebounds. Joe Girard added 20.
Syracuse just dominated Notre Dame in the lane and the Boeheim zone flummoxed the Irish.
Nate Laszewski, who you keep thinking is going to break through, just never quite does it. He was nearly shut out in this game, had just two points. He did have seven boards and three assists though.
After the game, Notre Dame’s Dane Goodwin said of the zone: “we just couldn’t figure it out.”
That’s not a great admission about a team that has vastly more experience than, well, just about everyone. Mike Brey has four super seniors and a fifth-year player. They basically got punked and to round it off, Syracuse freshman Judah Mintz drove on Marcus Hammond, a grad student transfer, and Hammond did not - let’s be kind - guard him effectively
It’s a back-to-the-drawing-board game for Brey and his team.
In Saturday’s other game, Florida State has been dreadful to date but are showing some signs of life. They competed well against Purdue in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and also did well against Virginia, losing just 62-57.
Typically, if you’re down to Virginia late, you’re done. And as it turns out, Florida State was done. However, they made an impressive rally, coming back from 10 down with 6:14 left and cutting the lead to 58-54 with :40 seconds left.
It’s not enough against Virginia’s system, but it is undeniably impressive, particularly considering how much Florida State has struggled. Pretty clearly, FSU is still listening to coach Leonard Hamilton.
We’re not sure you can say that about either Louisville or UNC, both playing games today.
Cards coach Kenny Payne actually had to ask his winless team if they had given up after losing to Maryland in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. They said no, but they still didn’t show a lot of heart.
Miami is an interesting opponent for Louisville. The ‘Canes are pretty small but the perimeter play is really tough. Louisville will win eventually - we think - but this one might be a stretch.
If they lose, Florida State is up on Saturday and that’s going to bizarrely compelling.
As for UNC, the Tar Heels have lost three straight and Armando Bacot is banged up. Virginia Tech is not a team we’d want to see next because Mike Young is an offensive master. The Hokies are really experienced and well-coached. If UNC has another lackluster effort, the Hokies will likely win.
Sunday’s ACC Action
- Miami vs. Louisville || 1:00 PM || ACCN
- UNC vs. Virginia Tech || 3:00 PM || ACCN
- Noie: All those good vibes from earlier in the week didn’t last for ND
- Three takeaways from Syracuse’s 62-61 win over Notre Dame
- Judah Mintz’s driving layup lifts Syracuse over Notre Dame in nail-biter, snapping 3-game losing streak
- Syracuse 62, Notre Dame 61: Orange sneak past Irish behind seniors in conference play
- John Wildhack trusts Jim Boeheim’s track record will return Syracuse basketball to its winning ways
- Strong start to second half put Cavaliers in command against Florida State
- No. 3 Virginia men’s basketball team holds off Florida State in ACC opener