The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team is back in action on Tuesday night, and they could really use a win after getting blown out in back-to-back games down in Brooklyn last week. Though SU’s offense has shown some signs of life, the defense has been exploited of late, so the hope is that a home game against a questionable Iowa Hawkeyes squad gets them back on track.
Before Syracuse and Iowa tip off at 7 p.m. ET from the Carrier Dome (and on ESPN2), we asked the TNIAAM staff to predict what they think will happen.
Syracuse 81, Iowa 76 (OT)
If you haven’t noticed by now, I have a tough time picking against Syracuse, especially with teams that I know we can beat. I think tonight this young team starts to turn the corner tonight. Joe Girard and Buddy Boeheim both hit some shots after being colder than a Syracuse winter at Barclays. I think Luka Garza will absolutely destroy us on the interior, but our outside shooting and Iowa’s turnovers will be enough to even things out, and some late OT heroics by Elijah Hughes will seal Syracuse basketball’s first win (of hopefully many) against a Power-5 opponent.
Syracuse 76, Iowa 72
After going 0-2 in Brooklyn last week, Syracuse is still in need of a quality win. The Orange have struggled against superior defenses this season, and Coach Boeheim said after Friday’s loss to Penn State that his team is a long way from reaching their potential. But Iowa, ranked 124th in defensive efficiency on KenPom, suggests a favorable matchup. And although the Hawkeyes are also ninth in offensive efficiency, they aren’t very athletic and score a lot from the perimeter, and Syracuse’s defense has held opponents to under 27-percent shooting from three-point range this season. I think the Orange win by making more three-pointers than the Hawkeyes.
Syracuse 66, Iowa 61
After last week there should be concern that the Hawkeyes big man Luka Garza dominates the Orange on the boards and triggers the Iowa up-tempo offense. However I think being home will allow Syracuse to shoot better and slow the pace. Iowa’s been playing a smaller line-up and that should mean Elijah Hughes will get to operate on a smaller defender and that makes the difference in this one.
Syracuse 75, Iowa 73
In the three losses against power five opponents, we’ve seen absolutely nothing from Syracuse that suggest it stands a chance against Iowa tonight. So for that reason, I’m putting my undefeated prediction record on the line and picking Syracuse to take down the Hawkeyes. In all seriousness though, Iowa isn’t that great of a defensive team (124 in adjusted defense in KenPom), playing 60 percent man and 40 percent zone. Jordan Bohannen is still not quite himself after coming back from a hip injury a season ago and Jack Nunge is out for the season with an ACL tear. The Hawkeyes don’t give anyone taller than 6-foot-6 significant minutes outside of Luka Garza (H/T: Joe from Cuse Militia).
Iowa 71, Syracuse 68
Maybe going for the reverse jinx here, but Luke Garza seems poised to eat Syracuse alive inside, and if that also creates some foul trouble for the Orange (not farfetched), that could spell some real trouble in this game. Though Iowa’s not a great defensive team, it’s hard to say that SU is either right now. The Hawkeyes also have enough shooting ability on the perimeter — even if inconsistent — to spread the zone a little thin. It’ll be a battle, but not one I’m overly confident Syracuse wins.
Iowa 80, Syracuse 68
Syracuse enters this one as favorites, stunningly to me given its recent play and Iowa’s Garza. Two rim protectors stifled the Orange’s offense in New York and I don’t believe a change of scenery shifts that trend. SU depends on three-point shooting, but doesn’t have the penetrators to create those shots or the elite creators to make them on their own. Against teams that limit the interior like the Hawkeyes, while also scoring 80 per game on their own, I don’t see the Orange entering the win column without a drastic boost from Quincy Guerrier.
Now it’s your turn...
Who will win the game between Syracuse and Iowa?
This poll is closed
Syracuse, and crisis averted for at least a day
Iowa, and it smells like smoke around here