Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Yes, Syracuse blew a double-digit lead to a Boston College team that had been tied for last in the ACC.
Yes, the No. 1 Orange let one slip away.
And yes, Jim Boeheim’s club (25-1) is no longer undefeated.
But there’s not much time to worry about all that.
Jabari Parker and Duke await in Cameron Indoor on Saturday night.
“I’m really happy we’ve won 25 games, I’m happy,” Boeheim told reporters after his team’s 62-59 OT loss to BC, according to WAER Sports. “But we have to concentrate on what’s ahead.”
He added: “Duke is one of the toughest teams to play at home in the country … They’re playing well and it’ll be a great challenge for us.”
Of course, Duke has it’s own busy couple of days ahead.
The Blue Devils will visit North Carolina Thursday in a game rescheduled from last week’s snowstorm.
Parker and company will have even less time than Syracuse before they must turn around and play Saturday night.
It would’ve been a great storyline if Syracuse had headed into the NCAA Tournament unbeaten, but let’s face it, they were liable to lose one anyway.
Maybe the Duke game.
Maybe the game at Virginia March 1.
The amazing thing is how the Orange got to this point unscathed.
They pulled that game out against Duke, 91-89, in OT at the Carrier Dome on Feb. 1 after Rasheed Sulaimon forced the extra period with an epic 3-pointer.
Then Tyler Ennishit that 35-foot rainbow to propel the Orange past Pittsburgh, 58-56, at the Petersen Events Center on Feb. 12.
And C.J. Fair hit a game-winning layup to lead Syracuse past N.C. State, 56-55, on Feb. 15.
“I’m not certain how we’ve won the number of games we’ve won,” Boeheim said.
It was bound to happen at some point, a loss that is.
But nobody thought it would come against a BC team that had only beaten fellow cellar-dwellar Virginia Tech (twice) for its two ACC wins.
In the end, BC played harder and wanted it more down the stretch, and Olivier Hanlan may have been the best Canadian product on the floor on this night.
“I’m speechless, I’m so happy for our guys after all the adversity they’ve been through,” BC coach Steve Donahue said on ESPN. “Obviously, a huge win for our program.”
“When you get in a lot of these games, you’re got going to win them all,” Boeheim said.
Now here comes another epic matchup with Duke.
Win and Syracuse will be right back on track — primed for the No. 1 seed in the East with two games in Buffalo and two at the Garden before a potential Final Four appearance.
Lose and there will be some level of panic in Orange Nation about back-to-back losses with tough road stops at Maryland, Virginia and Florida State still remaining.
“You can’t think about the past,” Boeheim said. “What we have to be concerned about is how we’re playing right now.”
And right now starts Saturday night at Duke.
Photo: Syracuse Athletics
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.