If the Syracuse Orange want to hit the 20-win plateau, they'll need to win three of their final four games. That's no easy feat with the No. 9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, No. 2 Virginia Cavaliers and No. 4 Duke Blue Devils among the challengers. They'll try to earn their second upset over a ranked opponent in as many weeks when they travel to South Bend for tonight's match-up. Do they have a chance? Let's see what everyone thinks...
Notre Dame 82 - Syracuse 71
Strangely enough, I actually think Syracuse may have a better shot against Duke in Durham than it does against Notre Dame in South Bend. Jerian Grant is not only scary good, he will likely have extra motivation to stick it to his
cousin's brother's old team, a team he couldn't play against last year because of his suspension. By the way, did you know Jerian and Jerami are related? I know, I know, you would think that would have been talked about before now. Either way, ND typically scores a lot of points and usually doesn't miss many shots. It's like Bizzaro Syracuse and that's not good.
Notre Dame 81 - Syracuse 72
Notre Dame ranks 10th in the nation in points per game and second in field goal percentage. Especially at home, Jerian Grant and Co. are awfully difficult to slow down. So unless Trevor Cooney scores 33 points on 11-of-15 shooting again, it's going to be difficult for the Orange to score enough points to pull off the upset. As has been the case several times this season, SU will hang around for at least the first half, but not for a full 40 minutes.
Notre Dame 75 - Syracuse 65
Hoping for a competitive game, but this would could get out of a hand if Syracuse doesn't hit enough shots. I would love to Rakeem Christmas go off against UND's big men and the rest of the crew chip in to make things close. I win at Notre Dame is always tough and it's even harder with our current roster.
Notre Dame 78 - Syracuse 67
Syracuse will have to hope the Irish are cold from the 3-pt line to have a chance to secure a road win. Expect Jerian Grant to be stationed at the foul line against the 2-3 zone, so if the Orange can avoid committing too many players to him and leaving the ND shooters open, they should be in this game for a long time. I think Trevor Cooney’s injury means that the Irish will focus a lot of attention on Rakim Christmas in the post, so it will be up to Kaleb Joseph and the duo of Ron Patterson and BJ Johnson to take advantage and make some shots if Syracuse wants to leave the Joyce Center with the win.
Notre Dame 70 - Syracuse 64
This team is exhausted -- mentally and physically -- and I just can't see them overcoming Jerian Grant and co. on the road. Sure, Rakeem Christmas will make an impact on the box score, and Michael Gbinije's hot shooting should continue. But beyond that, expect the typical late-game separation and ultimately, a Syracuse loss. This Notre Dame team has done a nice job of avoiding bad defeats (read: defeats to bad opponents) this season, and it's unlikely to change against the Orange. All I ask is that we finish .500 in league play, please.
Notre Dame 74 - Syracuse 67
I don't know who Notre Dame's Guy Who Comes Out of Nowhere to Hit Eight Three-Pointers will be tonight but I know he's coming. And even if he doesn't, this just doesn't feel like a game the Orange are capable of winning. Not this year. If Cooney's injured, that takes another body out of the line-up, and for all intents and purposes, he's been basically just a body in the lineup anyway for a week now. Let's look to the sophomores again to see if any of them are keeping their growth moving in the right direction.
Now it's your turn...