The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team (9-4, 0-0) begins ACC play against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-4, 0-1) at Purcell Pavilion Saturday at noon ET. Syracuse hasn’t lived up to the lofty expectations they received back in the preseason, but they have a chance to hit reset on their underwhelming non-conference play by showing up on both ends of the floor in the ACC.
The TNIAAM team had their ups-and-downs in predicting Syracuse’s non-conference wins and losses, so let’s see if they can start conference play on a positive note.
Syracuse 67, Notre Dame 64
I don’t see the Orange having another 80-point “explosion” in this one on the road, but I think they’ll get enough out of Tyus Battle late in the second half to pull this one out. They’ll need to attack the Fighting Irish’s defense early if they want to avoid another stagnant outing on offense, and that starts with Battle, Oshae Brissett, and Frank Howard setting the tone from the tip. A few threes from Elijah Hughes will halt Notre Dame’s inevitable runs, but at the end of the day it’ll be a 1-0 start for the Orange in ACC play.
Syracuse 74, Notre Dame 72
Other than Ohio State, Syracuse has yet to beat a team outside KenPom’s top-90 this season. That win was over a month ago. Since then, the Orange are 5-2 with its best win coming against Georgetown. The Hoyas were ranked No. 94 in KenPom’s rankings, and it took a rather lucky charge and game-winning shot for Syracuse to come away with the victory. All that to say: are we sure this team is ready to compete with competent ACC opponents? I’m not, but Notre Dame is under-manned and inexperienced. Syracuse wins in a tight one.
Syracuse 76, Notre Dame 70
Should be a very close game, but I think in the end Tyus Battle takes over and pulls the Orange through for a win. The Irish are still a decent offensive team but they’ve struggled on defense (118th in KenPom) and want to play things slow. It’ll be important for Syracuse to rebound and run.
Syracuse 71, Notre Dame 68
Notre Dame lost its winningest class in history following the departures of Bonzie Colson, Matt Farrell and Martinas Geben, and in turn Mike Brey has rolled out his least experienced team ever. An unconventionally young Fighting Irish squad has turned younger after losing senior guard Rex Pflueger for the season, but T.J. Gibbs is a bucket-getter and returning players John Mooney and DJ Harvey have stepped up. Still, ND isn’t a great defensive team and I think given that and the lack of depth gives Syracuse the edge on the road. Nate Laszewski is expected to play on a bruised right knee, but I think Syracuse does just enough to get a road win.
Syracuse 68, Notre Dame 64
Similar to most recent matchups between these two teams, expect another ugly game on Saturday — but one that Syracuse should be able to pull out, albeit barely. TJ Gibbs will get his points, though the Orange do enough to shut down John Mooney inside to make it a bit of a one-man offense. Tyus Battle scores 20, while everyone else contributes near their typical scoring averages. Some clutch free throws ice the game late. This effort won’t be enough against most ACC foes.
Who will win the Syracuse vs. Notre Dame game?
This poll is closed
Syracuse, and we’re going undefeated in ACC play!
Notre Dame, and we’ve got some thinking to do.