The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball tema ended their two-game losing streak with a win against the Colgate Raiders last week. But the Orange will look to get their first “statement” win of the season against the 16th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
With Frank Howard now back in action, the Orange have all their players available for a game against a ranked opponent for the first time in this young season.
So what does the TNIAAM staff think will happen in this one?
Ohio State 73, Syracuse 68
Syracuse hasn’t seen a team that is as good at defending and controlling the pace as Ohio State and I expect Syracuse’s offensive struggles to continue as they continue to try to find their footing on the offensive end. Kaleb Wesson will be a problem for the Orange all night and the Buckeyes shoot the ball well from deep. This could end up being a frustrating night for Syracuse and their fans.
Syracuse 71, Ohio State 69
Syracuse really missed Howard in the 2K Classic, as they looked lost on offense without their point guard running the show. Now that Howard had a game to shake off the rust, the Orange will hopefully be able to get easier shots by pushing the pace and moving the ball thanks to the leadership of their senior point guard. While the Buckeyes have been impressive this season, this is the kind of game where Tyus Battle proves he’s the best player on the floor with dominant scoring for the full 40 minutes. The 6’6” guard will hit a clutch shot late to get the Orange back on track.
Ohio State 67, Syracuse 65
If Frank Howard is still at 70% of his ability I think it’s enough to prevent Syracuse from grabbing a big road victory. It’s hard to trust this Orange team after watching the last three games, but at the same time, it’s far too early to give up on the season. Not having Howard and Carey available for a good portion of the pre-season puts Syracuse behind other teams as they work to develop a rhythm on the court. If the Orange are going to pull off the upset, they will need a strong game on the boards.
Ohio State 67, Syracuse 62
On paper, Syracuse has more talent and enough to win in a Big Ten environment but so far we haven’t seen the Orange put it all together. Kaleb Wesson represent a literal big challenge inside and so far Syracuse has struggled against Cobb of UConn and Bol Bol of Oregon. Wesson is different than either of those two, but the guys will need to attack him at the rim. Maybe this is the game that Syracuse puts it together, but until we see that effort I’ll give Ohio State the edge at home with big nights from Wesson and C.J. Jackson.
Ohio State 74, Syracuse 65
We’ll see if Howard’s still not 100-percent — which should go a long way toward whether this offense continues to improve in the MSG aftermath. But I think Ohio State’s just too accurate as a shooting team to defend with or without Paschal Chukwu for the full 40 minutes required. The Orange may very well get better than this (and if they have any shot at the NCAA Tournament, they’ll need to), so let’s try not to read too much into a near-double-digit defeat, should it happen.
Ohio State 75, Syracuse 65
Frank Howard is back and Paschal Chukwu begins his own recovery from a groin tear. So the Orange probably can’t play their muck-up-the-game, tall lineup for much of one of the hardest games on their schedule. Ohio State consistently holds its opponents under 40 percent shooting, and that’s where the Orange offense sits in terms of efficiency. Without a March Madness-esqe defensive performance, or jolt in playmaking, its hard to see Syracuse packaging all it’ll need to win. The Buckeyes’ 39 percent efficiency from deep will pressure their defense, more small ball minutes likely add to that, and it’s hard to imagine this group finding their offensive rhythm over the course of one week off. Then again, it’s always worth expecting the unexpected with SU basketball.
Who will win the Syracuse vs. Ohio State game?
This poll is closed
Syracuse, and the Orange add their first "statement" win of the season to their résumé!
Ohio State, and we’re still wondering how to fix the problems.