Syracuse and Duke Electrify the Carrier Dome
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As great as college basketball can be, game in and game out, nothing gets truly exciting on the national stage until the Big Dance starts in the middle of March.
Once in a while though, a game for the ages is played, and that was the case Saturday in Syracuse as the Orange outlasted Duke in a classic 91-89 overtime matchup. CJ Fair had 28 points for Syracuse and Jerami Grant added 24 as the Orange overcame a last second trey by Rasheed Sulaimon to send the game into an extra stanza. That's when the 'Cuse finally put a fork in the Devils:
Where does this game leave both teams, who easily could be in the Final Four in April?
Syracuse (21-0) will be No 1 in the country this week, after Arizona was upset on the road against California. The Orange have two more games at home this week against teams they should beat, Nôtre Dame and Clemson. They do travel to Pitt and Duke later in the season, and it's clear the Blue Devils will be looking for revenge whe the Orange travel to Cameron Indoor Stadium.
No matter where the standings have Duke, it's easily the second-best team in the ACC and a team that no one would like to play in March. The Blue Devils still must play rival North Carolina twice, as well as that return engagement with Syracuse, so they still have some tests left this winter. Virginia and Pitt are strong teams, but the chalk says it will come down to Duke and Syracuse for both the ACC's regular season and tournament titles.
No matter what and no matter where these teams go during the rest of this season and into the NCAA tournament, it will be hard to recapture the excitement they created on Saturday. Just ask the 35,446 who attented the game and the many more who watched it on television.