The Syracuse Orange (14-9, 6-4) have now won three straight after a thrilling comeback and overtime win over NC State on Wednesday. They’re far from out of the woods yet, but are showing themselves to be a tougher out as the season wears on. That’ll come in handy on Saturday when they host the No. 9 Virginia Cavaliers (17-4, 7-2)
What’s going to happen when the Orange and Hoos face off at Noon ET tomorrow? The TNIAAM staff takes some guesses:
Virginia 63, Syracuse 59
After Wednesday's up and down affair with NC State, look for a much different game on Saturday in the Dome. Virginia wants to slow things down and impose their will on their opponents. To win this game I think the Orange need to have a lot of movement on the offensive end, and also need to look to get out in transition. With the Cavaliers keeping opponents under 54 points per game, it will be important for Syracuse to make shots from 3 to make the defense extend. Syracuse will need to play with poise and focus if they want to grab another key win.
Virginia 68, Syracuse 60
I said this in our latest podcast and on Twitter: I have no idea what to predict anymore when it comes to this basketball team. They could go undefeated and win the NCAA Tournament or they could go winless and miss the NIT… and neither scenario would surprise me at this point. I don’t think they’ll go winless, but I do think they’re going to lose to Virginia on Saturday. SU has improved its offense considerably of late, but they will struggle to score against Virginia’s No. 1 defense, which gives up just 53.4 points per game. Look for the Orange to keep it relatively close, but Jim Boeheim’s
1,000th win 1,000th loss his team has inflicted on opponents will unfortunately have to wait.
Virginia 71, Syracuse 60
Syracuse has done enough to win three straight but the winning streak stops on Saturday. The Hoos are a top five defensive team in the country and the Syracuse zone has been suspect, even in wins. This time the poor zone catches up with Syracuse and the Orange cant generate enough on offense against a stingy pack-line.
Syracuse 66, Virginia 62
Syracuse comes in winners of three straight, and I think that continues on Saturday. Virginia is such a solid defensive team, but it's their offense that doesn't impress me. Andrew White, Tyus Battle and Tyler Lydon will need to make some shots down the stretch for the Orange to win -- and I think that happens.
Virginia 68, Syracuse 61
Much of this Virginia team operates the exact same as it did in last year’s Elite 8 -- which is also similar to the team that beat the Orange in three straight before that game. The Hoos allow just 53.4 points per game (first in the NCAA), but only score 69.2 (270th). There’s little chance SU can drag this into a high-scoring affair, which would favor them far more. They give UVA a fight, but not enough to pull off a win. Still, an effort we can be happy with despite the loss.
What about you?