The Syracuse Orange (12-4, 1-2) are on the road again on Tuesday night, facing a stiff opponent in the Virginia Cavaliers (14-1, 3-0). An upset’s unlikely, but if the Orange were to spring another one on the Hoos, we certainly wouldn’t complain.
You can watch Syracuse vs. Virginia at 8 p.m. ET on your local ACC Network affiliate or ACC Network Extra, unless you made the trip down to Charlottesville.
So what does the TNIAAM staff think will happen in this game?
Virginia 63, Syracuse 49
A desperation Syracuse press in the final five minutes allows Virginia to get some layups to pad the final score, but this game projects to be ugly. If the Orange don’t find a way to get to the foul line and at least a couple of transition baskets, I don’t see how they muster much offense in halfcourt sets. An on-target Frank Howard could be the Orange’s best hope at pulling the upset. If he can make some shots from the top of the key it could force the Cavaliers to extend their defense enough to open some driving lanes for Tyus Battle and Oshae Brissett.
Virginia 61, Syracuse 52
The Orange have a chance here to get a quality road win against a top 5 team in the nation, but Syracuse’s lack of shooting will doom them down the stretch. A strong scoring outing from Tyus Battle will help the Orange stay in it on paper, but at the end of the day it’ll be another poor shooting game that leads to a third straight Syracuse loss.
Virginia 64, Syracuse 62
The Cavaliers are thriving defensively, boasting shutdown wins over Virginia Tech (52), North Carolina (49) and slid by Boston College by one point. I actually think this opens a door for Syracuse, who was able to top the Cavs last year, albeit a worse team. I’m giving the Orange a chance to fight in this one, especially after a post-Notre Dame call-out from Jim Boeheim and with the fact that Virginia doesn’t score proficiently themselves (264th in scoring). Syracuse hasn’t scored much in general this year, so they’ve been used to playing in these grueling, low-scoring games win and lose.
The Orange will more likely win the home end of this home-and-home in 2018, but I expect them to be competitive in a game that could be a massive resume booster for March if they can pull it off. West Virginia cracked their defense (at home) with 6-13 three-point shooting between its top two scorers. That and a +7 rebounding advantage did the job. The Cavs still scored 61 points in that game too. A win here will be tough, but it’s not an insurmountable challenge. What’s a daunting defense going to do to a team that can’t score to begin with?
Syracuse 56 , Virginia 55
First one to double digits wins? Seriously, this game is going to be uglier than sin. While I understand this is a long-shot on the road against the nation’s No. 3 team, I just think it would be the most Syracuse thing ever to get a win. Syracuse should probably be 3-0 in the ACC but instead has fallen to 1-2 in conference, so it only makes sense Syracuse goes down to Virginia to fall behind big at the half, turn on the press in the second and come from behind to win. Up is down, down is up and Syracuse beats Virginia in a comeback. Rationality and logic do no apply here today.
Virginia 60, Syracuse 50
Syracuse is going to get sucked into the pack line defense. You know how this team plays against lesser defensive squads. They’ll shoot themselves into a hole early, then fight their way back briefly, only to fall in the end. That doesn’t mean they’re avoiding improvement in this game. It just might take a lesser opponent than UVA to see this Orange team pick better shots and have them actually go in enough to make a noticeable difference.
Now it’s your turn...
What will be the outcome of the Syracuse vs. Virginia game?
This poll is closed
Syracuse wins and Hoos fans need therapy for life
Virginia wins by a handful and we can build on that
Virginia wins going away and uh oh...