The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team is coming off of an emotional week in which it secured an important win over Louisville at home last Wednesday before losing to Duke on Saturday in front of the largest on-campus crowd in college basketball history.
In a rare turn of events, the TNIAAM gang went undefeated in predictions last week, at a clean 8-0. Are we starting to figure this team out or was last week just a fluke? We’re back at it for tonight’s matchup against North Carolina, where the Orange will travel to Chapel Hill to take on the Tar Heels tonight at 9 p.m. ET.
UNC 81, Syracuse 66
Syracuse put up a valiant fight against Duke last Saturday, but a cold second half doomed them in the end. Facing the Tar Heels on the road is an extremely challenging task, and I see Luke Maye having a field day inside the middle of the 2-3 zone. The Orange have one more ranked win this season, but it’s not going to be Tuesday night down in the Dean E. Smith Center (I guess that’s a giveaway for my Virginia prediction).
UNC 79, Syracuse 73
I’m not sure Syracuse has the ability to stop the Carolina offense but I think the Orange will try to slow tempo whenever possible. This doesn’t look like a good match-up on paper as the Tar Heels are not only good shooters, but they are also a better rebounding team. The Orange are going to need to shoot the ball well because UNC has a number of weapons on offense.
UNC 81, Syracuse 68
Given that North Carolina has won 10 out of its last 11 games and the impressive offensive onslaughts in just about all those games, I don’t think Syracuse can do enough defensively to disrupt UNC and I certainly don’t think the Orange can manufacture enough points on the road to keep up with the Heels. Stranger things, I suppose. But I fully expect UNC to work the 2-3 zone inside out and crash the offensive boards to a victory tonight.
This North Carolina team is balanced on both ends of the floor and doesn’t offer much of an achilles heel for the Orange to exploit. Roy Williams has a squad that ranks in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency and is up to its tricks on the glass. I think Cam Johnson will come out torching from outside after UNC attacks inside with Luke Maye. Nassir Little is starting to figure things out and Coby White should get his.
North Carolina wins by putting up gaudy offensive numbers, as it is wont to do, and the Orange are still left searching for its 19th win of the season.
North Carolina 75, Syracuse 60
I can’t envision this one going well, even given the Orange’s success overall on the road this year. NC State unloaded on SU with shooting, pace and offense. Virginia Tech ripped Syracuse apart with shooting and pace. Neither of those teams approach UNC, the best offense in the ACC and maybe the best in the NCAA period. This group works the zone like nobody else, has savvy veterans like Luke Maye and Cameron Johnson that have played and beaten the Orange badly earlier in their careers.
UNC is off dismantling a dominant two-way Duke team (albeit without Zion Williamson) behind 30 points and 15 rebounds from Maye. SU has never played UNC well, the Tar Heels are going for their eighth straight victory over Jim Boeheim’s group, and I cannot see that changing here. It’d be a miracle if Cuse wins this game to me, and that’s no knock on them. UNC could win the national title this year.
North Carolina 79, Syracuse 62
North Carolina’s simply too good inside to be slowed down by the zone the way some other opponents have been. Add to that the VERY capable outside shooting of Cameron Johnson (47.3 percent on 148 tries) and others, and it’s a recipe for disaster for SU. Failing to get it done doesn’t mean this team’s not NCAA Tournament-worthy. Just means this isn’t the game that seals the deal (should that game arrive).
Now it’s your turn...
Who will win the Syracuse vs. North Carolina game?
This poll is closed
Syracuse wins and PUT ON THOSE DANCIN’ SHOES BABY!
North Carolina wins and we make jokes about no class, coy Roy and maybe even Petey Pablo.