The Syracuse Orange (11-2) finally start ACC play on Sunday, and things won’t be all that easy from here on out. First up? The Virginia Tech Hokies (11-2), who sit just outside the top 25 and look lethal on the offensive end.
You can watch Syracuse vs. Virginia Tech at 6 p.m. ET on ESPNU/WatchESPN -- if you’re not already attending the game at the Carrier Dome, that is.
So what does the TNIAAM staff think will happen in this game?
Syracuse 68, Virginia Tech 65
The Orange will open ACC play up with a nail-biting win as Tyus Battle and Frank Howard set the tone for conference play. The lack of motion on offense will hurt them to start, but the big plays will be made to come away with the win.
Virginia Tech 78, Syracuse 69
As Syracuse sputtered through non-conference offensively the real test for their optimistic-looking defense begins tonight against the sixth best scoring attack: the Hokies. Virginia Tech shoots 43.7 percent outside as a team, with three players (Hill, Bibbs, Alexander-Walker) above that clip with over 130th. A Tech team that dismantled Syracuse at home last year looks even better, and holds their own (38th) on the defensive boards too.
No team in college basketball shoots more efficiently from the field (54.5%). If Syracuse has any hope, it’ll be making this a free throw game. Even Paschal Chukwu has converted at the line of late, and the Hokies get there often (15th in FTA) but only finish at a 75 percent rate. Home court gives me some hope for Syracuse keeping it close and muddy, as they did vs. Eastern Michigan, but they have yet to see shooting power like the Hokies have.
Virginia Tech 80, Syracuse 71
As one of the nation's best offensive and three point shooting teams, I fully expect Virginia Tech to come into the dome and take advantage of an undermanned Syracuse squad. The Orange remain thin now with what's likely just a 7 man rotation with Sidibe being sidelined. Look for Virginia Tech to work the ball against the zone for outside shots, something the Orange has struggled to defend this year.
Virginia Tech 76, Syracuse 70
Syracuse has faced some quality shooting teams this year, but none like the Hokies -- and that likely spells doom for the offensively-challenged Orange. The one glimmer of hope for SU is Tech potentially shooting as poorly from three as they did in the last game vs. NC A&T (only 30 percent). But with recent opponents finding ways to get hot (and open) from outside more frequently, that’s troublesome in this game. Syracuse starts slow before roaring back in the early second half. They just don’t have enough to finish the job, unfortunately.
Now it’s your turn...
What will be the outcome of the Syracuse vs. Virginia Tech game?
This poll is closed
Syracuse wins and that’s a very promising starts in the ACC
Syracuse loses by 1-9 points and fine, we’ll fix things
Syracuse gets blown out, and oh no...