ACC Midseason Report: Syracuse

Syracuse_Orange_Logo_in_JPEG_FormSyracuse has again and again proved that they are the best team in not just the ACC, but the entire country. Last night’s thrilling win on a Tyler Ennis, 35-foot three pointer on the road against a tough Pittsburgh team, perfectly sums up the season for the Cuse. They have been a couple of incredibly close games, particularly the two against Pittsburgh and the win at home over Duke.

The thing that sums up this incredible team the most is that with the game on the line and 4.4 seconds left, Pittsburgh had no idea which Syracuse player to guard the tightest because all five players on the floor were more then capable of making that game winning shot. ESPNstats tweeted out this incredible stat about Ennis, the kid who stepped up and buried the three, with under 5:00 left in the second half or in overtime, Ennis is 8-9 from the floor, 14-14 from the line and has six assists and zero turnovers. Ennis is only a freshman who averages 11.9 points and 5.6 assists per game, but those late-in-game  numbers are the definition of clutch. And in case you didn’t know Syracuse only used six players in yesterday’s win.

If Cuse didn’t go with Ennis for the game winner they would have been okay going to CJ Fair, who is one of the most electric players in the country. Fair, a senior from Baltimore, averages nearly 17 points and six rebounds per game while shooting 45 percent from the floor. He has scored in double-figures in every game except two on the season. He is the leader of Syracuse on and off the floor and he had a huge 28 points in the big overtime win over Duke.

If Fair was covered they could have looked at Trevor Cooney, the sophomore that is shooting 43 percent from behind the arc and averaging 14 points per game. Remember his 9-12 from behind the arc against Notre Dame? That mark tied a Syracuse record for most three pointers in a game. Cooney, like Ennis and Fair also shoots above 40 percent from the floor.

If they could have gotten a pass inside the paint, Jerami Grant would have been a more than viable option for The Orange. He averages 12.5 points and shoots an impressive 48.2 percent from the floor. Rakeem Christmas is the only starter who doesn’t average in double-figures but he shoots an incredible 68 percent from the floor when his number is called upon.

Syracuse has gotten past every tough obstacle so far, but their work is far from finished. They still have two tough road games at Duke (Feb 22) and Virginia (Mar 1). As of now they would be a lock for a one seed in the NCAA tournament, they are currently the unanimous number one in both polls. Cuse has beaten five ranked opponents on the season. It helps that they get to play every home game at the largest and loudest facility (it is certainly not an arena or gym) in the country. The Carrier Dome is most definitely near the top of my bucket list of college hoops places to attend. It is there that Cuse will host NC State and Boston College before they travel to Cameron Indoor Stadium to face Duke.

Throughout the next seven days there will be a profile for all 15 teams in the ACC. They will come in order of how the teams are ranked in the ACC standings. Next up will be Virginia.

Scott Zolotorow