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2017 ACC tournament preview: Syracuse

<p>Andrew White III enters the postseason coming off a 40-point performance and is part of a deep Syracuse backcourt.&nbsp;</p>

Andrew White III enters the postseason coming off a 40-point performance and is part of a deep Syracuse backcourt. 

Syracuse Orange: 18-13, 10-8 in the ACC

Head coach: Jim Boeheim (41st season)

Players to watch: Andrew White III (17.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.6 spg); Tyler Lydon (13.4 ppg, 48.8 FG%, 8.3 rpg); John Gillon (11.0 ppg, 5.5 apg); Tyus Battle (10.8 ppg, 43.4 FG%)

Season recap: Syracuse could not have had a rougher start to the season—after losing to South Carolina in late November, head coach Jim Boeheim’s team dropped five of its next nine games, including a pair of blowout defeats at the hands of St. John’s and Boston College. Yet the Orange reemerged in ACC play, ripping off five consecutive victories between Jan. 24 and Feb. 7, and they later punctuated their season with John Gillon’s buzzer-beating triple to upset Duke last month.

Moving Gillon to the point guard slot has given Syracuse’s offense much better spacing, as the Colorado State transfer averages 5.5 assists per game and also shoots 42.3 percent from beyond the arc. With fellow transfer Andrew White III also capable of catching fire from the perimeter—he dropped 40 in the team’s regular-season finale—and freshman Tyus Battle coming into his own, Boeheim’s squad once again looks like a team to be reckoned with in March.

The key for Syracuse this week will be whether big men Tyler Lydon and Taurean Thompson can stay engaged. If the Orange get past Miami Wednesday, they will need all hands on deck to slow down North Carolina’s four-headed monster inside.

Syracuse is hoping to solidify its NCAA tournament spot—currently, ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi has the Orange as a No. 11 seed.

How they make a run: Syracuse thumped Miami at home in early January and looks to do the same Wednesday, riding the vociferous support of the Orange faithful in its home state to a matchup with No. 1 seed North Carolina—which Syracuse hung with for about 30 minutes in Chapel Hill back on Jan. 16.

Mitchell Gladstone | Sports Managing Editor

Twitter: @mpgladstone13

A junior from just outside Philadelphia, Mitchell is probably reminding you how the Eagles won the Super Bowl this year and that the Phillies are definitely on the rebound. Outside of The Chronicle, he majors in Economics, minors in Statistics and is working toward the PJMS certificate, in addition to playing trombone in the Duke University Marching Band. And if you're getting him a sandwich with beef and cheese outside the state of Pennsylvania, you best not call it a "Philly cheesesteak." 


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