SYRACUSE, N.Y– After being on the outside last year, the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team desperately wants a NCAA tournament bid. Following a close loss to 10th ranked North Carolina, Coach Jim Boeheim has a positive outlook.
“We won at Miami. We won at Louisville. No one thought we could win either game, so yeah, I’m absolutely encouraged. We’re playing good, playing really good basketball,” said Boeheim.
Reigning ACC Rookie of the Week, Oshae Brissett feels the same way as his coach. Brissett is playing his best ball of the season coming off his 10th double double of the year.
“Once everyone is dialed and wants to win then we can beat any team in the country we just gotta stay consistent throughout the game and close it out at the end,” said Brissett.
ESPN bracketoligst Joe Lunardi currently has Syracuse as his last team getting into the tournament. A good opportunity to keep themselves on the inside comes Saturday at 9th ranked Duke.
“It’s a very loud and hostile environment,” said Frank Howard in reference to playing in Cameron Indoor at Duke.
Along with Howard, Brissett and the team’s leading scorer and nation’s leader in minutes played per game, Tyus Battle, look forward to the upcoming challenge at Cameron Indoor.
“I’ve always wanted to play there. Coming here, I marked that on my calendar as a game that I wanted to play good and get the win,” said Brissett.
“I love playing away, I like when the fans are loud and stuff like that and hitting big shots to quiet the crowd. I live for moments like that,” said Battle.
For the Orange to avoid missing back to back NCAA tournaments for the first time since 2007 and 2008 they’re going to need a strong showing down the stretch. After going on the road for a brief trip to Duke and Boston College, they’re going to welcome in 15th ranked Clemson to the Carrier Dome for one last chance to bolster their resume before conference tournament time.