CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Syracuse men’s basketball (20-12) seeks another win in the ACC Tournament when the 6th seeded Orange face the 3rd seeded Duke Blue Devils (26-5) in the quarterfinals on Thursday night.
The game will likely tip off at about 9:25 p.m. at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte and will be televised nationally on ESPN and the Watch ESPN app, as well as on ACC Network affiliate stations. In the Syracuse market, the station showing the contest will be WSTQ-CW 6.
Syracuse rallied to beat Pittsburgh 73-59 on Wednesday night in the conference tournament’s second round, playing without top scorer Tyus Battle, who is dealing with a lower back injury. Freshman guard Buddy Boeheim scored a career-high 20 points to help the Orange erase a 36-30 halftime deficit to the Panthers. Point guard Frank Howard and forward Elijah Hughes added 18 points apiece, while center Paschal Chukwu contributed seven points, nine rebounds, and six blocks.
What’s at stake for Syracuse?
Quite frankly, not much is at stake for the Orange anymore. Syracuse’s win on Wednesday night has definitively ended any NCAA bubble concerns for the team, including eliminating the chance of being sent to Dayton, Ohio to have to play an extra game in the NCAA Tournament’s First Four. The Orange was placed there last year.
It’s not even clear how much an improbable win over Duke would improve Syracuse’s possible NCAA draw. It might just increase the possibility that the Orange play in a dreaded 8-9 game in the tournament’s first round, with the winner facing a No. 1 seed in the next round.
Still, the Syracuse team will undoubtedly be chomping at the bit for any chance to beat America’s most famous college-basketball team after the Orange and the Devils split their two meetings this season. Duke leads the all-time series against the Cuse 8-6.
Syracuse will likely have to play without the injured Battle again as “he’s probably, realistically, two or three days away from being able to play,” according to head coach Jim Boeheim. Duke is likely to get star center Zion Williamson back into its lineup Thursday after missing nearly six full games with a knee injury. The Blue Devils went 3-3 in those games. Syracuse won at Duke in January when the Blue Devils had Williamson in the lineup, but lost at home to Duke in February when the Devils were without him.
The Orange are 2-4 in the ACC Tournament since joining the conference in the 2013-2014 season. They haven’t played Duke in the event.
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Photos by Adam Rombel/ BJNN