The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team (4-2, 0-1) was run off the court by Oklahoma State on Wednesday, and is sorely in need of a bounce-back effort on Friday night. Unfortunately, the Penn State Nittany Lions (5-1, 0-0) may not be the team to do it against. We haven’t faced PSU in decades, but they’re actually one of a handful of squads we’ve faced over 100 times. This may wind up being one of the better Nittany Lions teams of all of those meetings.
Before the game tips off at 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU (or at Barclays Center if you’re in Brooklyn), the TNIAAM staff weighs in on what’s going to happen.
Penn State 75, Syracuse 66
Like Oklahoma State, Penn State isn’t a great shooting team but is strong on defense and plays at a much faster tempo than Syracuse (per KenPom). That could make for another tough night if the Orange go cold from deep (excluding Hughes) and don’t play good transition defense. I think Syracuse fails to make the necessary improvements with just a day in between similar opponents, and the team’s recent struggles at Barclays Center continue.
Syracuse 70, Penn State 64
I’m going for optimism here. I think we actually match up better against Penn State than we did against OKSU. Penn State doesn’t have an imposing center that will eat up the paint. They also don’t have a guard nearly as physical and athletic as Isaac Likekele. They do have a phenomenal forward in Lamar Stevens, but he doesn’t have the size and defensive presence to dominate the interior like Yor Anei did against us. I think this will be a bounce-back game for Buddy Boeheim, Elijah Hughes will continue to shine, and Quincy Guerrier posts a double-double to help seal the win.
Penn St 68, Syracuse 63
This is another strong defensive team that Syracuse will face so the key for Syracuse will be converting turnovers to baskets, something the Orange didn’t do against Oklahoma St. It’s too simplistic to say that the Orange will be fine if they make shots because they need to do a better job of getting good shots against the Nittany Lions. Right now I think teams with inside players like Lamar Stevens and Mike Watkins might be a bit much for the Orange to handle. If Syracuse can force Penn State to shoot more outside shots they can win but they will need a better defensive effort than they had on Wednesday.
Penn State 72, Syracuse 67
Syracuse will once again face a tough defensive team tonight against Penn State. They’re a top 30 Ken Pom team in defensive efficiency, and force teams to turn it over. Elijah Hughes said on Wednesday night that Syracuse will need to show some toughness to get out of this trip at 1-1, and he’ll have to have another really good performance (and avoid foul trouble) to keep the Orange in it. I think the Orange offense will struggle again and Penn State will do enough against the 2-3 zone to get the win.
Penn State 74, Syracuse 68
Prior to Wednesday’s game, I said that OK State was the preferred first opponent in Brooklyn, so the fact that SU lost that game doesn’t spell good things for Friday. Penn State’s proven to be a quality offense while making stops on the defensive end. They also have an ability to get after SU inside with Lamar Stevens. It winds up a closer one, but Syracuse still falls and now you’re panicking.
Now it’s your turn...
Who will win the game between Syracuse and Penn State?
This poll is closed
Syracuse, and you’re temporarily feeling better about the Orange
Penn State, and those Thanksgiving leftovers are coming back up