It’s ACC Tournament time! The eighth-seeded Syracuse Orange (18-13, 10-8) take on the ninth-seeded Miami Hurricanes (20-10, 10-8) on Wednesday in the second round of the tournament. Tip-off’s at noon ET at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. We could really use a win here to solidify our NCAA Tournament hopes.
So are we winning this game, and likely putting all of our Selection Sunday dread to rest? The TNIAAM staff makes its picks:
Syracuse 71, Miami 66
We know that Syracuse is a different team outside of the Carrier Dome, but I think they find a way to get an important win. Miami is very up and down as a team. They like to play at a slower pace and use their athleticism to get easy baskets. The Hurricanes don't shoot the 3 or share the ball well (only 12 assists per game), so the key for the Orange is to keep them off the offensive glass after misses. I think this is a game where Syracuse should push the ball at every opportunity and look to get White/Lydon some 3s in transition.
Syracuse 70, Miami 64
After Syracuse’s blowout win over Georgia Tech, SU is projected to be one of the last four teams in, or one of the first four teams out (depending on which "expert" you’re putting your stock in). However, Syracuse’s bubble will once again refuse to pop, as the Orange will eke out a slim win over Miami to secure its spot in the NCAA tournament. While Wednesday’s contest won’t be a home game for Syracuse, it might as well so, as the Barclays Center will be flooded in a sea of Orange to give SU a reassuring home court atmosphere. Both Andrew White and Tyler Lydon scored 20+ points in the Orange’s first matchup vs. Miami. Expect a similar outcome this time around as the two Syracuse leaders will help lead the Orange to a much-needed win.
Syracuse 67, Miami 63
The Orange now enter the toughest part of the season: tournament play. Syracuse took down the Hurricanes earlier this season as Tyler Lydon and Andrew White III led the way. This is a new team now and the game will be played on a "neutral court", so for the Orange to come out on top they'll need a complete performance from the top down. While the stage is as bright as ever, this game will be dominated by the freshmen as Tyus Battle and Taurean Thompson lead the way with their energy and efficiency.
Syracuse 72, Miami 68
Syracuse comes into this game in need of a win away from the Carrier Dome to boost its resume. It has the chance to win on two fronts: adding a win on a neutral and adding another top 50 win to its name. I suspect Syracuse comes ready to play against a team that struggles to shoot from outside. Syracuse wins behind solid performances from Gillon and White.
Syracuse 73, Miami 68
Syracuse was able to slow down Miami in the Carrier Dome back on January 4. Only one Hurricane scored in double-figures, and I don’t think that happens again on Wednesday. There’s a lot to like about this matchup for the Orange, but it won’t be as simple as the first matchup. This game means more for Syracuse, as Miami is already in. I’ll take the Orange close.
Syracuse 67, Miami 61
Miami’s no offensive powerhouse (they average just 70.2 points per game on the season), but Syracuse has shown itself to struggle shooting away from the Dome and that may happen here for a bit, too. They’ll recover, and lock down the ‘Canes enough defensively to come away with a victory. But the Orange are certainly going to scare you in the process. Expect a late shooting streak by John Gillon or Andrew White III to put this one away in the final minutes.
What about you?