Hopefully this will be a case of déjà vu, as the Syracuse Orange (14-5, 5-1) take on another road team ranked in the top 10 on Saturday. Syracuse travels to face the No. 10 Virginia Tech Hokies (15-3, 4-2) tonight at 8 p.m. ET.
After taking down the No. 1 Duke Blue Devils in Cameron Indoor Stadium a couple Mondays ago, the Orange will look to add another marquee road win to their resume as they come into Blacksburg’s Cassell Coliseum on a three-game winning streak. Let’s see if the “experts” think the Orange can shock the nation once again.
Virginia Tech 78, Syracuse 70
I really want to choose the upset here, but I see the Orange relying on the three-ball too much here which will hurt them late. Syracuse is going to get hot from deep early in the first half, but that success will lead to some stagnant offense late in the second half, letting the well-rested Hokies pull out the win. I see Oshae Brissett coming alive in this one, but it won’t be enough for the road team this time around.
Virginia Tech 77, Syracuse 75
The Hokies have been sitting waiting a week while the Orange have to make a quick turnaround after defeating Miami. With the extra time to prepare for the Syracuse zone as well as what should be a strong home court advantage this gives Va Tech the edge going in. Look for Buzz Williams to try and pressure the Syracuse ball handlers and try to keep the ball out of Tyus Battle’s hands. The Hokies are not deep in the frontcourt so Syracuse would be wise to drive the ball early. This would be a big road win but I think the Orange fall just short.
Syracuse 71, Virginia Tech 69
Something has to give here as Virginia Tech is undefeated at home while Syracuse is 3-0 in true road games. While the Hokies boast one of the best offenses in the country, the Orange have one of the best defenses (of course) in the country and have held six of its last eight opponents to 63 points or fewer. Tech shoots a torrid 42.1 percent from deep, so I do think they’ll have some success from beyond the arc against the 2-3 zone in this game.
Both of these teams play at a slower pace and while Syracuse has picked up tempo a bit more of late, I suspect a slower game tonight with fewer possessions. Buzz Williams’ squad is effective at turning over opponents, but Frank Howard will control the attack at point and set up the Syracuse offense.
Personnel from both sides is similar from last season and while it was a home game, the Orange beat Tech rather convincingly a season ago by 12. I look for the Orange offense to continue to have success as VT only has one player over 6-foot-5 (Kerry Blackshear), so Syracuse should be able to get to rim without much resistance and rebound in this one. Jim Boeheim earns a hard-fought victory on the road here behind solid outings from Tyus Battle and Elijah Hughes.
Syracuse 76, Virginia Tech 75
I’ve been fooled before, so feel free to look back on this prediction and scoff. But I really do think Syracuse has figured something out over the last three games. The offense has figured out ball movement a bit, and that’s set up better outside shots for the team’s marksmen like Elijah Hughes and Buddy Boeheim. Defensively, Paschal Chukwu’s also improved significantly in recent weeks. Tech’s not completely healthy and can be a streaky shooting team that relies on threes. That’s usually the exact team Syracuse likes to face. I think SU pulls the upset here, albeit by the skin of their teeth... as long as they’re able to sink shots from beyond the arc.
Who will win the Syracuse vs. Virginia Tech game?
This poll is closed
The Orange, and Syracuse continues its hot streak while further strengthening the NCAA Tournament resume
The Hokies, and it’s on to the next one for the Orange.