The Syracuse Orange (16-12, 8-7) have now lost three straight games, and we’re getting (rightfully) concerned. SU could sure use a major victory right now to help solidify NCAA Tournament hopes. Luckily (or unluckily), along come the Duke Blue Devils (22-5, 10-4). While Duke presents a challenge, they’re also an opportunity. Let’s see if the Orange can take it.
What’s going to happen when the Orange and Blue Devils face off at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday night? The TNIAAM staff takes some guesses:
Duke 84, Syracuse 79
This game should be up and down as both teams can score, and both have trouble defending. An Orange win won't just be about making shots, it will take some strong rebounding and taking care of the basketball. Syracuse is going to need to have everyone contributing if they want to grab a quality win for their NCAA resume. This is a game where Tyus Battle and Taurean Thompson need to hold their own against the Blue Devils young stars
Syracuse 76, Duke 73
The story with Syracuse all season long has been, just when you think this team is done, it comes roaring back to life. The Orange find itself sitting squarely on the bubble after losing its last three games, throwing its tournament hopes into a tailspin in the process–meaning Syracuse is now obviously due for another marquee win. No road game in the ACC is easy, and the Orange will look to continue that trend, backed by an estimated 30,000 crowd. While the game will be close for largely all 40 minutes, expect Syracuse to eke out a slim win and keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive for another day. #LoyalIdiot
Syracuse 71, Duke 70
This is going to go down as the game of the year. It's going to be another historic Orange comeback as they will go into the second half trailing by double figures. But it won't be over. This is going to be Tyler Lydon's shining moment in Orange as he leads them on a late comeback that is capped off with a game winning shot. This kind of win would keep the Orange's March hopes alive, so please Tyler, prove me right this one time. Please.
Duke 88, Syracuse 80
Expect this game to be a high scoring affair. Duke has too many weapons on the offensive end and I think Kennard and Allen will have a field day with open looks from deep. Tatum is shooting the ball better from distance, too, and I expect him to mix it up at all three levels. Syracuse will need its best effort of the season, but not being able to get enough stops defensively has been Syracuse's Achilles heel. Duke wins in a shootout.
Duke 83, Syracuse 74
This game is far more important for Syracuse, but Duke will have no trouble getting up for it. SU is expected over 30,000 and the Dome will be rocking. To me, Duke has too many shooters and has the personnel to pick apart the 2-3 zone. I just don’t see the Orange winning unless Duke has a horrific night from 3-point range.
Duke 88, Syracuse 79
The Syracuse team that’s shown up for the last month tells me that they could very well give the Blue Devils a game. But they could also very well lose because Duke’s a team designed to beat this Orange defense. Being at home is a plus, and as we saw last week, the Dome does help power SU toward strong efforts against better teams (Louisville). But Duke has too many shooters and too many ways to beat this zone, and they’ve been on a hot streak since Coach K’s return. Syracuse makes it a fight, but not enough of one to pull the upset, sadly.
What about you?