The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team (5-5, 1-1) is reeling once again after another double-digit loss. But a home game against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies (5-6, 0-0) could potentially be the cure for some of those issues.
Oakland has spent most of the last couple weeks touring through the MAC, and has lost two straight to Michigan State and Bowling Green. They’re not necessarily a great offensive team (63 points per game), but have a scorer or two on the roster. You could probably say the same about Syracuse, however.
Before the game tips off on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on ESPNU, we asked the TNIAAM staff to predict what they think will happen.
Syracuse 74, Oakland 57
I sincerely hope the game isn’t even this close. Syracuse basketball could use another decisive victory, and Oakland shouldn’t pose too much of a threat. They’re 5-6 on the season and just came off a 72-49 drubbing at the hands of Michigan State. They’re also 382nd in the NCAA in scoring at 62.9 points per game. I fully expect Syracuse to pull away by the end of the game, but also wouldn’t be surprised if it’s still a close game at halftime. Elijah Hughes will have yet another productive first half, and we’ll finally see the emergence of Quincy Guerrier on offense. And no, I don’t just mean offensive fouls.
Syracuse 80, Oakland 57
By now, Syracuse’s identity seems set as a team that easily handles mid-major opponents but lacks that talent necessary to beat a lot of power conference teams. The Orange should pick up their sixth win of the season against an Oakland team currently ranked 202nd on offense and 148th on defense (KenPom). Particularly to SU’s advantage is the fact that the Grizzlies have shot 28.6 percent from three-point range on the season. Expect the Orange to get back on track on both ends of the court, and get significant contributions from the full rotation.
Syracuse 75, Oakland 55
Watching the Miami Heat this past week reminded me before Kendrick Nunn’s ascent to NBA scorer, he played against Syracuse in the Dome in 2017. Nunn score 12 points in 40 minutes, emblematic of a rough night for a slashing team against an excellent zone. While the Orange feature their most embattled 2-3 zone in recent memory, off allowing 89 points to Georgetown, it doesn’t appear that the Golden Grizzlies floating around 50-60 points each game. They struggle at the free throw line, can’t hit threes efficiently and feature only two double-figure scorers. Blake Lampman’s shooting could hurt SU off the bench and Oakland’s rebounding could help them play the possession game, but Elijah Hughes and Buddy Boeheim have shot well enough recently to make me think Syracuse pulls away in this one. Quietly, Bourama Sidibe and Jesse Edwards surrendered 1-for-5 shooting against them inside in the Georgetown loss. A smaller Oakland team shouldn’t beat up SU’s interior.
Syracuse 68, Oakland 57
This is a good team for the Orange to face as the Golden Grizzlies aren’t a strong offensive team, especially from beyond the arc. Xavier Hill-Mais is Oakland’s best player and if the Syracuse defense can keep him off the offensive boards this should be a comfortable win. I have a feeling we might see more minutes for Jesse Edwards in this one as Syracuse looks to establish some post offense. Hopefully this game won’t require Elijah Hughes to go the full 40 minutes.
Syracuse 82, Oakland 59
Wild to think that Syracuse will go through its entire non-conference schedule without playing a single-digit game, because I think the Orange wins these next three games handily. Oakland isn’t good on either side of the ball and there’s no Kay Felder here to take over. Syracuse should be able to score with ease, as it has in the last two games, and the defense will take a step in the right direction on Wednesday night. Syracuse rolls the Golden Grizzlies at home behind another solid scoring effort from Elijah Hughes and Quincy Guerrier responds in a big way.
Syracuse 75, Oakland 61
If you’re expecting this game to show you signs of the Orange turning a corner on defense, you probably won’t get it. Syracuse manages to hit shots in this one, but Xavier Hill-Mais and Daniel Oladapo still get theirs as the Golden Grizzlies forwards exploit the middle of the zone a bit. Where Oakland winds up struggling is from outside (they’re hitting less than 29% from outside on the year), and that saves SU in the end. It’s a win, but not one that instills much confidence for the Orange faithful.
Now it’s your turn...
Who wins the game between Syracuse and Oakland?
This poll is closed
Syracuse, and at least we didn’t lose
Oakland, and there are no lifeboats available