The Syracuse Orange have two more non-conference contests in which to get better and pad those stats before ACC play. Let's find out if the TNIAAM crew (and you) think they'll get the win when the Long Beach State 49ers come calling on Sunday in the Carrier Dome.
Syracuse 68 - Long Beach State 62
Syracuse is the better team, but the 49ers have already nearly won at San Diego State and Texas. Plus, Long Beach has actually taken out Xavier and Kansas State. This isn't your typical 5-8 team. The good news for SU? Well, it's two-fold, really. First, SU is the middle part of a crazy trip for the 49ers. After playing in NYC against St. John's on Monday, they play Syracuse Sunday and then travel to Louisville! Yikes. This team has to be wearing down, especially during the holidays. Secondly, Syracuse seems to be playing much better than it was just a couple of weeks ago. And in that span, Trevor Cooney has found...something. He's 11 of his last 22 from deep and is scoring in double figures on a routine basis. Essentially, all the signs are pointing to a win on Sunday.
Syracuse 71 - Long Beach State 59
By now, we know the deal with Long Beach State. They will go anywhere and play anyone in the non-conference, which includes Syracuse in the Dome on what is becoming a somewhat-regular basis. The 49ers have pulled out some nice wins for the resume (Xavier, Kansas State), but for the most part, they've been unable to put away top programs. At 5-8, the Niners have losses to BYU, UCLA, Washington, SFA, SDSU, Texas, and St. John's. While many of those games were fairly close, LBSU is coming in on a four game losing streak, and have a trip to Louisville just two days after it plays in the Dome. I think that grind, as well as the task of playing a Syracuse team that is starting to click a bit, will be too much.
Syracuse 74 - Long Beach State 56
It very well could just be coincidence, but the Orange have looked and played like a different team since Boeheim sounded off after the Louisiana Tech game. This group is starting to figure things out, which isn’t good news for Long Beach State. And despite a couple decent wins over Xavier and Kansas State, the 49ers have yet to win a road game -- a trend that will continue at the Dome on Sunday.
Syracuse 76 - Long Beach State 59
Long Beach State is a decent team with a legit non-conference schedule, but the Orange should handle this one. SU’s offense has looked so much better with Cooney hitting 3s and driving effectively. I think Joseph has been a little more aggressive, too, and has shown more confidence. SU shouldn’t have too much trouble, especially if Chris McCullough starts playing the way he did to start the season.
Syracuse 70 - Long Beach State 59
This Syracuse team appeared to play angry against Colgate on Monday night (at least at the start), and hopefully that trend continues on Sunday against the 49ers. As always, LBSU challenged itself mightily in non-conference play (11 games vs. major-conference competition), and the results have been rough. But as others have alluded to, this is a good basketball team that can win with some defense. That actually plays to our strength a bit, and while SU may need some time to pull away, I have faith it happens. Teams can only deal with so many cross-country trips, and Long Beach may be spent at this point in a rough non-conference slate.
Syracuse 67 - Long Beach State 55
A couple weeks ago I might have wondered if Syracuse would lose this game. I don't really feel that way anymore. I think the team's improved in a short amount of time and they should be at the level where they can handle a decent LBSU squad at home. The big question will be whether or not we can get a good game out of both Kaleb Joseph and Chris McCullough at the same time. Feels like it's been a while since we've seen that.
How about you?