The No. 11 Syracuse Orange (22-13, 8-10) are on the cusp of an improbable trip to the Sweet 16. But standing in their way are the No. 3 Michigan State Spartans (30-4, 16-2), who provide quite the test for SU and should make for a road game environment in Detroit given the in-state location of the game.
Syracuse and MSU tip off from Little Caesars Arena at 2:40p.m. ET on CBS or March Madness Live.
So what does (some of) the TNIAAM staff think will happen in this game?
Syracuse 65, Michigan State 61
I can’t go against my bracket, where I have the Orange going to the next round. This will be another classic in Syracuse’s NCAA Tournament history books, as Tyus Battle cements his name with a dominant performance. Getting out to an early league will be the key in this one, as the Orange keep on dancing to the Sweet 16.
MIchigan State 75, Syracuse 68
The optimist believes that the Orange’s Big 3 will have one game where all of them are hitting shots and that the offense can help take some pressure off the defense. The rationalist looks at the Spartans’ two lottery picks and wonders how the Syracuse frontcourt can contain them without getting into foul trouble. Somewhere in the middle we know we’ll get a Syracuse team trying to grind out another “ugly” win- this time in front of a large Sparty following. I don’t expect Syracuse to be able to limit Michigan State enough to advance, but if the Orange can get an early lead and avoid the late 1st half lapse, the crowd’s nervous energy can be used against the Spartans.
Michigan State 75, Syracuse 58
The first two opponents Syracuse faced in March slashed and sputtered offensively in ineffective attempts to break up the zone. Michigan State has two stars and depth to boot. Their dribbling issues give me pause, but their shooting makes me think Syracuse gets blown off the court. While I wouldn’t be stunned if Cuse competed, I remember what this group looked like against Duke’s top-line talent and North Carolina’s playmaking depth. MSU combines the best of offense and defense, and looks like way too much for an average team to overcome, nevermind one sporting so many deficiencies. There’s no shame in ending the season one of the last 32, and little doubt in my mind the road ends here.
Michigan State 71, Syracuse 61
It was a fun run. Michigan State will look to get out and run in transition here, which I think Syracuse should actually be able to limit. But if the trio of Brissett, Howard and Battle struggle to score in this one it would be a tall order to ask Dolezaj to do the heavy lifting offensively. Syracuse will struggle to score tomorrow and Michigan State is just too talented offensively to contain. Syracuse already overachieved this season and the future is bright, so there will be nothing to be abashed about after losing.
Michigan State 72, Syracuse 60
Sorry, I’m a #disloyalidiot. The Orange are going to be hard-pressed to be fully rested here after already playing two games, and MSU is uniquely prepared to take apart the zone. Michigan State has outside shooters, plus big bodies that can attack the paint and draw fouls from Syracuse’s bigs. They’re a quality defensive group on their own, too (something you couldn’t say about Arizona State or TCU). If we get into some early foul trouble and/or if SU’s guards struggle to shoot the ball again, this one could end pretty quickly.
Now it’s your turn...
What will be the outcome of the Syracuse vs. Michigan State game?
This poll is closed
SYRACUSE WINS AND WE’RE PRINTING OBNOXIOUS T-SHIRTS
Syracuse loses, and we can definitely say this was a successful season anyway