The Syracuse Orange (18-10, 7-8) start a critical two-game road stretch on Saturday by paying a visit to the Duke Blue Devils (23-5, 11-4) down in Durham, N.C. Based on record alone, it’s easy to tell that Duke’s pretty good this year. We don’t know if Marvin Bagley III will play. But even if he doesn’t, this is no easy task to beat the Blue Devils — however a win would do a lot to help Syracuse’s NCAA Tournament hopes.
You can watch Syracuse vs. Duke on ESPN or WatchESPN at 6:15 p.m. ET.
What does (some of) the TNIAAM staff think will happen in this game?
Duke 75, Syracuse 64
The Blue Devils are just too talented a team for this young Syracuse roster. With or without Marvin Bagley, the Orange are going to struggle to score with this dynamic Duke offense. The Orange will make it entertaining throughout, but a late barrage of threes will seal the deal for a Duke win.
Duke 77, Syracuse 66
I’m real curious to see how Syracuse chooses to attack the Duke 2-3 zone. Can Marek Dolezaj make a couple of foul-line shots to open up the perimeter for the Orange? Does the Duke zone limit the success of Syracuse’s drive the lane offensive attack? As we’ve seen, the 2-3 can leave driving lanes open if the ball movement is crisp but Syracuse’s challenges shooting the 3 might allow Duke to pack things in a bit. I think Syracuse comes up just a bit short in their bid for a 3rd straight ACC road win
Duke 77, Syracuse 66
While it remains unlikely that Marvin Bagley plays in this one, Duke has been on an absolute tear of late and Grayson Allen has reemerged as a dominant college basketball player. That, and Duke has made the commitment to zone recently and has been pretty solid in the 2-3. That spells trouble for Syracuse. Net-net, I expect Wendell Carter to have a monster game inside and the Orange lose this one by double-digits.
Duke 80, Syracuse 71
Things are different for Duke without Bagley, in that the offense runs more through Grayson Allen and the guards. That’s not necessarily “better.” It’s just a unique brand of good that’s not the same as when Bagley’s in. That zone they’ve been playing has also helped them out quite a bit recently (definitely read more about that here). Syracuse should be able to attack it, but we’re really going to need a hot hand from at least two of Tyus Battle, Oshae Brissett and Frank Howard to get this done. Sadly, we come up just a little short of the upset bid here.
Now it’s your turn...
What will be the outcome of the Syracuse vs. Duke game?
This poll is closed
Syracuse wins AND WE OWN CAMERON INDOOR AND A LIKELY NCAA TOURNAMENT BID
Syracuse loses and we probably need to win the last two games...