It's been a rough week for Syracuse, but we live to fight another day. And that day is today. In College Park, Maryland. Against the Terrapins. Losing three straight is not an option, but it could very well happen if SU fails to execute or if the Terps catch lightning in a bottle and/or follow Boston College's gameplan for beating us. So, will they?
We chatted with Alex Kirshner of SB Nation's Testudo Times to get some answers leading up to tonight's contest. Check those out below, and stay tuned for our own responses over on Testudo Times as well.
I'm sure you saw Saturday's bogus foul call. We now feel your pain.
I've never bought the argument that referees intentionally come to Duke's aid at Cameron Indoor. But it's pretty frustrating to see things like that transpire, no doubt.
So how's the last go-around in the ACC treating you guys?
Not especially well, because Maryland has underperformed on a lot of levels. The competition has been good, though, and Maryland's gotten some chances to measure up against elite opponents. They'll have another one tonight.
What will Maryland fans miss the most about your long-time conference?
My experience with Maryland is fairly brief -- I'm an out-of-stater who only in the last few years came to College Park and picked up the Terrapins as a hobby-lifestyle. What most fans will miss, I'm sure, is the hoops rivalry with Duke, which peaked in the early 2000s but has been an underrated, nasty matchup for a long time.
Do you feel the Comcast Center provides a significant home-court advantage for the Terps?
Comcast Center will definitely be an advantage tonight. When that building is packed (as it will be; the Terps have announced a sellout), it gets as loud as any venue in the nation. There are nights when it's not close to full, and those are deflating, but I expect a raucous crowd for this game.
Are you expecting Saturday's tough loss to affect Syracuse on Monday (positively or negatively)?
Syracuse's consecutive losses can't be a good thing for the Terps. When was the last time a Boeheim Orange team lost three games in a row in the regular season? It can't be very common, can it?
Which Maryland player should Syracuse be most wary of?
That's Dez Wells. The junior point guard is Maryland's on-court and emotional leader, a tremendous threat on the drive who can dominate games when he's on. He isn't always on, but I expect him to show up well tonight.
Which Syracuse player do you fear can do the most damage to the Terrapins?
C.J. Fair could have a significant game. He'll be guarded plenty by Evan Smotrycz, a "power forward" who is more of a three-four swingman but doesn't have the size and strength to play strong interior defense. Jabari Parker did a good deal of damage against Smotrycz when the Terps visited Durham two weekends ago.
Do you think Maryland can make the NCAA tournament? What needs to happen?
In a word, no. The Terps have lost too many games to mediocre opponents, and their best win is Florida State at home. I don't see where the tournament berth comes into play, barring victory in the ACC Tournament.
Any recommendations for visiting SU fans on Monday night?
If you've never been, you definitely should see the monuments and memorials in Washington. College Park's proximity to the most important city in the world (10 miles) is drastically underrated. Closer to the arena, be sure to stop in at Cornerstone Grill and Loft or Looney's Pub, two of the most popular gameday stops. Just don't wear orange, of course.
Predictions: Who's going to win this game and by how much?
Like you, I've done a lot of these Q&As this year, and I try hard not to be irrational. I pick against Maryland most of the time, so it might be nonsense to put faith in the Terps when they're playing such a top-flight team. That said, Maryland is usually good for one excellent win per season at Comcast Center, and the place will be jumping long before tip-off tonight. The Terps are due for a quality win as much as Syracuse is due to ends its losing streak, and I've had a long weekend. So I'll take a leap: Maryland 75, Syracuse 72. Enjoy the game, everybody.
Thanks to Alex for taking the time to answer these questions! And be sure to check out Testudo Times!
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