Bubble Watch: Syracuse helps case with win over NC State


By AARON BEARD - AP Basketball Writer



Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, seated front, watches a shot as his son guard Buddy Boeheim (35) looks on during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Wednesday, March 10, 2021. Syracuse defeated North Carolina State 89-68. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, seated front, watches a shot as his son guard Buddy Boeheim (35) looks on during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Wednesday, March 10, 2021. Syracuse defeated North Carolina State 89-68. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)


Syracuse guard Buddy Boeheim (35) takes a three point shot during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina State in the second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Wednesday, March 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)


North Carolina State head coach Kevin Keatts yells to his players during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Notre Dame on Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in South Bend, Ind. North Carolina State won 80-69. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)


Jim Boeheim figures his Syracuse team has done enough to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

The Orange beat North Carolina State on Wednesday in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament, a matchup of the league’s two teams facing bubble uncertainty. That certainly helped Syracuse (16-8) as it hovers around the cut line in many bracket projections.

“I think when you look at the profile overall, I think we’ve got a lot of good wins against good teams,” Boeheim said, adding: “I think we did what we needed to do this year, but we’ll see what happens.”

Syracuse entered Wednesday at No. 49 in NET and just outside the 68-team field in BracketMatrix.com’s average of 139 mock brackets, with the Orange appearing on 36.

Syracuse lacks a headlining win on a resume that includes a 1-6 record in Quadrant 1 games — the top category based on an opponent’s NET ranking — though Boeheim noted all seven games were played on the road.

He also pointed to the team’s 4-1 record against Quadrant 2 teams, with the win against the Wolfpack — coming off five straight wins — likely joining that category.

And the Orange can take a huge step toward an NCAA bid in Thursday’s ACC quarterfinals by taking down No. 16 Virginia.

ON THE RISE

Colgate: The Raiders (13-1) cracked the 100-point mark in beating Bucknell in the Patriot League Tournament, which they likely must win to earn the bid. Colgate has a curiously high NET of No. 8 (sandwiched between sixth-ranked Alabama and ninth-ranked Ohio State) despite not playing a Quadrant 1 game.

Duke: The Blue Devils (13-11) make the list after keeping slim chances alive with Wednesday’s second-round win against Louisville in the ACC Tournament. They face No. 15 Florida State on Thursday and still likely must win the ACC Tournament to earn an NCAA bid, but another win could make things interesting.

HOPES FADING

Marshall: The Thundering Herd (15-7) had won six of seven but likely saw their chances evaporate with Wednesday’s loss to Rice in the Conference USA Tournament.

N.C. State: The Syracuse loss essentially eliminated the Wolfpack (13-10), with coach Kevin Keatts being asked whether his team would accept a bid to a downsized 16-team NIT. “I hate to think about that,” he said, “but certainly that’s a good question to ask.”

Xavier: The Musketeers (13-8) blew a 19-point lead in Wednesday’s overtime loss to Butler in the first round of the Big East Tournament. Xavier has to hope wins against No. 17 Creighton and No. 25 Oklahoma are enough.

GAME TO WATCH

Michigan State and Maryland meet in Thursday’s second round of the Big Ten Tournament, matching teams that appear to be on the right side of the bubble.

The Spartans (15-11) lost at Maryland by 18 on Feb. 28 but likely locked up a bid with last weekend’s upset of fourth-ranked Michigan. The Terrapins (15-12) won five straight in February to improve their chances, but closed with losses to Northwestern and Penn State.

Maryland is a No. 10 seed while Michigan State is a No. 11 based on BracketMatrix’s projections Wednesday.

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Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, seated front, watches a shot as his son guard Buddy Boeheim (35) looks on during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Wednesday, March 10, 2021. Syracuse defeated North Carolina State 89-68. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/03/web1_126349009-290b2462138f40d5aebbf52370217712.jpgSyracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, seated front, watches a shot as his son guard Buddy Boeheim (35) looks on during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Wednesday, March 10, 2021. Syracuse defeated North Carolina State 89-68. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Syracuse guard Buddy Boeheim (35) takes a three point shot during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina State in the second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Wednesday, March 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/03/web1_126349009-a19115d83e4f49348835853c81d52322.jpgSyracuse guard Buddy Boeheim (35) takes a three point shot during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina State in the second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Wednesday, March 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

North Carolina State head coach Kevin Keatts yells to his players during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Notre Dame on Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in South Bend, Ind. North Carolina State won 80-69. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/03/web1_126349009-7d0e76152a914ed5b402508dc8ec4413.jpgNorth Carolina State head coach Kevin Keatts yells to his players during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Notre Dame on Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in South Bend, Ind. North Carolina State won 80-69. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)

By AARON BEARD

AP Basketball Writer