The Syracuse Orange (11-8, 3-3) have their backs against the wall, as they have for weeks now. A trip to South Bend, Ind. probably won’t help, as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are currently 16-3 overall and 5-1 in the ACC. That said, Syracuse has won four straight against the Irish, dating back to 2013.
So what’s going to happen when the Orange and Notre Dame face off at noon ET on Saturday? The TNIAAM staff takes some guesses:
Notre Dame 82, Syracuse 77
Syracuse is going to need to shoot the ball as well as they did at UNC if they have a chance to knock off the Irish. Notre Dame has a lot of weapons on offense and they will probably look to feature Bonzie Colson inside early in order to open shots for Steve Vasturia. The Irish are an unselfish team, but they aren't strong inside so it's crucial that Syracuse control the boards.
Notre Dame 70, Syracuse 58
The Fighting Irish are just plain and simply the better team. The Orange need to make some noise fast if they want to make it into March, but this game is just to much to ask for. A win against Notre Dame would help the Orange prove their case later on in the season, but the balanced attack from the Irish is too much to overcome. The Orange will make it interesting in the first half, but look for a late second half run to open things up for the Irish.
Notre Dame 86, Syracuse 72
This game is going to come down to the three point line. ND just made 15 threes against Florida State and lost. Syracuse isn't good enough to weather that kind of storm and frankly, syracuse has failed to defend the perimeter well this season. I look for Notre Dame to hit from deep and for Matt Farrell to carve up the zone and create for others.
Notre Dame 81, Syracuse 67
Notre Dame is almost unbeatable at home. Syracuse has been horrible on the road. Do you see where I’m going with this? The Irish sits atop the conference with only one loss, and Mike Brey has his team playing at an elite level. Steve Vasturia is a very good shooter, Matt Farrell has been playing exceptional this season and Bonzie Colson is a force inside.
Notre Dame 83, Syracuse 74
Syracuse usually struggles to stop teams with one lights-out three-point shooter. How about four, as is the case with the Irish? The Orange defense has improved (even against North Carolina on Monday), but not enough to avoid being stretched thin by a team focused on long-range shooting. SU also struggles on the road this season (have yet to win away from the Dome), which won’t help against an offensively-minded ND squad. This team may pull off a big upset this year. It won’t be on Saturday, however.
What about you?