The rollercoaster ride that is North Carolina basketball has, in the period of 6 days, delivered whiplash to UNC fans. A harsh house loss to Marquette on Wednesday. A fascinating recovery win over Florida State three days later on. And now, a gut punch by means of Syracuse: a 72-70 loss to the Orange.
The rough flight dropping us here with this result should come as not a surprise, yet it doesn’t make it any simpler for UNC to soak up. The Tar Heels were an 11 seed in Jerry Palm’s bracket going into the day, riding high off a win over No. 11 Florida State. Palm made clear that their inclusion came with a caveat that they are far from safe.
Being Up To the Orange does not significantly hurt its tourney chances, but it is flirting alarmingly with disaster now with margin for mistake rapidly decreasing. If there’s a silver lining here, it’s that drama is bubbling around North Carolina– the state. This now sets up a juicy regular-season ending Saturday versus Duke that might be the most bubblicious battle of bluebloods all season, with both teams taking it down to the wire as they vye for at-large quotes.
Mentioning rivalries, Bedlam on Monday night delivered the goods once again. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State once again came down to the wire after going to OT on Saturday with OSU finishing the sweep and strengthening its strong resume with another Quadrant 1 win. We’ll get to that in a 2nd. However initially, some thoughts on UNC-Syracuse prior to a spin throughout the rest of the night winners and losers from across the hoops landscape.
Loser: North Carolina’s tourney profile takes hit
North Carolina moved from an 11 seed and in the field of 68 to Jerry Palm’s “last 4 in” with its loss to Syracuse, replacing Georgia Tech. Yes, still in the field for now however hanging by a thread. Turns out that devoting 20 turnovers and making simply four of 20 3-point attempts on Syracuse’s house court does not do the tourney qualifications much excellent.
Winner: Syracuse survives
There’s a long list of groups on the bubble, and Syracuse’s 72-70 win over North Carolina did well adequate to keep it because conversation. The Orange forced 20 turnovers against UNC and got a game-high 26 points from Friend Boeheim, coach Jim Boeheim’s child, who topped 1,000 career points.
Still, Cuse is 0-6 in Quad 1 opportunities and in requirement of not simply wins however excellent wins. In 2021, a win over UNC is not that. Falling the Tar Heels was essential to keep its Huge Dance dreams alive but its resume remains hollow.
17 Oklahoma State fulfilled again Monday night and provided another excellent one with OSU winning 79-75 to finish the sweep. It’s a particularly notable one for OSU as it offers the Cowboys 8 Quadrant 1 wins. It’s too early to draw sweeping conclusions from these outcomes, however it’s a pretty squashing blow for two groups that went into the night with real hopes to slip into the Huge Dance without the golden ticket of winning the conference tournament.
Winner: Virginia finally returns on track
There was no genuine risk of No. 21 Virginia, a No. 5 seed in Palm’s bracket, falling out of the competition photo. But three successive losses the last two weeks tossed it from ACC frontrunner to ACC runner-up in a rush. It has actually been treading water, so getting back on track Monday versus Miami in a 62-51 win– even against Miami– certifies as a win for the ruling champs. Big self-confidence builder as it relocates to its regular-season finale Saturday against Louisville.
Loser: Rutgers walks into Peak Bank, topples tough
Perhaps– OK, absolutely— the most spectacular result of Monday night: Nebraska 72, Rutgers51
Yes, Rutgers scored 51 points and lost to the worst team in the Big Ten by 21 points. It’s Nebraska’s biggest win in league play because it beat, you thought it, Rutgers by 34 points in January 2016.
Winner: Western Kentucky deals with company vs. FIU
As expected, Western Kentucky dealt with service against FIU on Sunday, winning 91-58 The Hilltoppers followed that up with a 71-59 win versus FIU on Monday to sweep the two-game series. Palm’s read was that a loss would’ve cleaned away their at-large hopes, and while a win does not lock them in, it absolutely keeps them in the bubble discussion. Winning the C-USA tourney may be the safe method to punch a ticket given its unsteady qualifications for an at-large.
Loser: Tubby Smith, High Point take Winthrop beatdown
2 days eliminated from a win over USC Upstate in the preliminary of the Big South Competition, Tubby Smith’s Peak Panthers discovered their low point, falling 83-54 to Winthrop in their biggest loss of the season. The two teams met 2 weeks earlier in a back-to-back series on High Point’s home court with Winthrop taking both but doing so by only six and 8 points, respectively. The 29- point margin of defeat is the program’s largest because falling to Gardner Webb by 31 points last season. (That loss came two weeks after the two groups went to OT and Gardner Webb left with a win by 3 points.)
Winner: Oregon remains on hot streak
Do not look now– especially if you’re UCLA!– but Oregon is making its perform at the Pac-12 crown. The Ducks (17 -5, 12 -4 Pac 12) won their 3rd successive game Monday, 80-69 over Arizona. It’s their eighth win in 9 games. Oregon, an 11 seed getting in the day, has succeeded for its tourney potential customers of late, however it’s due time we acknowledge this team has some real products. Chris Duarte scored 22 points and Eugene Omoruyi included 21 in the win over the Wildcats. There’s some extremely genuine star power that might sustain this team for a deep run. They appear to be hitting their stride and reaching full health at just the correct time.