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Syracuse men’s basketball vs. Duke: TV/streaming, time, odds, history & more

Can Syracuse win the season series against the Blue Devils and advance to the conference tourney semifinals?

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Teams: Syracuse Orange (20-12, 10-8) vs. Duke Blue Devils (26-5, 14-4)

Day & Time: Thursday, March 14, at 9:20 p.m. ET (approximately)

Location: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, N.C.

Line: TBD

TV/Streaming: ESPN/WatchESPN

Radio: Syracuse IMG Network, WAER 88.3, SiriusXM: 971 (Syracuse) | 84 (Duke)

Duke blog: Duke Basketball Report

Rivalry: 8-6, Duke

Current Streak: 1, Blue Devils

First Meeting: Syracuse lost out on what would have been its first Final Four trip back in 1966, falling to Duke in the Elite Eight (IN RALEIGH?!), 91-86. Rick Dean led SU in scoring with 16 points, but some guy named Jim Boeheim was second with 15 of his own. The Blue Devils pulled away late in a back-and-forth game behind strong efforts from Jack Marin (22 points), Bob Verga (21) and Steve Vacendak (19).

If Twitter had existed back then, Orange fans would’ve shouted about home-cooking for weeks. Which, let’s be honest, playing an Elite Game in Raleigh is pretty bogus, even for 1960s’ era hoops.

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Last Meeting: Playing in front of a on-campus record crowd of 35,642 observers, Duke took down Syracuse, 75-65, at the Carrier Dome late last month.

Outside of the game, the setting was also emotionally charged because it was Jim Boeheim’s first game following his tragic accident that resulted in the death of 51-year-old Jorge Jimenez. Prior to tip off, Syracuse held a moment of silence to honor the life of Jimenez, and after the game Boeheim publicly addressed the incident in his press conference. “First and foremost to the Jimenez family I want them to know how truly devastated I am for my involvement and the loss of a loved one,” Boeheim said.

As for the trivial side of the night, basketball, Duke’s RJ Barrett scored 30 points on 14-of-20 shooting. With fellow frosh Zion Williamson out with a sore knee, Barrett came up with big shot after big shot, showcasing why he too will be a top-five pick in this June’s NBA Draft. Alex O’Connell also contributed a career-best 20 points of his own. The sophomore guard made 5 of 8 three-point attempts and also had a rather impressive seal-the-deal dunk late in the second half.

Syracuse’s star Tyus Battle, having scored 32 points in the season’s first game against the Devils, struggled mightily. The junior connected on just 4 of his 17 shots from the field, and seemed to become more frustrated as the night went along. Meanwhile, Elijah Hughes (12 points), Marek Dolezaj and Frank Howard (10 points each) were the only other Orange players to reach double figures in scoring.

Despite holding the lead at the half, 34-29, Syracuse was outscored by 15 in the second and as a team made just one of its 11 3-pointers after intermission. Conversely, after missing 34 3-pointers against the Orange back in January, the Devils ended 9 of 29 from deep in the Dome.

Head Coaches: SU: Jim Boeheim (43rd year, 1,047-383; Duke: Mike Krzyzewski (39th year, 1,052–283—1,125–342)

Last Year: I hope you’re sitting down because it might be hard to believe that Duke came into the season with high expectations. I know, crazy, right? Well, the Blue Devils were a preseason top-five and somehow grinded their way to a 29-8 overall record.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s group, a fun-loving, feel-good bunch, finished second in the regular-season standings of the ACC and ended up losing to North Carolina in the conference tourney. From there, Duke wound its way through the Midwest Region of the NCAA tourney, even taking out Syracuse in the Sweet 16.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Midwest Regional-Syracuse vs Duke Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The season came to a wrap when the Blue Devils lost to Kansas, 85-81, in overtime of the regional finals.

While it’s kind of hard to believe that Duke didn’t make the Final Four, it’s also kind of hard to comprehend the fact that the Blue Devils lost so much from last year and are potentially on pace for another top seed this Sunday.

Think about this: Gary Trent, Jr., Marvin Bagley III, Wendell Carter Jr. and Grayson Allen all left the program following last season. And despite that, Coach K rebounded with a rebuild full of top-tier recruits. Feel-good story. (pukes)

Last Game: For the second time this season, North Carolina beat a Zion-Williamson-less Duke. Last Saturday night, the Tar Heels beat the Blue Devils, 79-70 inside the Dean Dome.

North Carolina’s Coby White, who I think is about to show the nation just how good he can be, tallied 21 points, and Kenny Williams added 18. In the victory, the Heels wrapped up a share of the conference crown, tying for the top spot with Virginia. It was also UNC’s first season sweep of Duke since 2009.

After a so-so first half that saw the Devils leading by two at the break, Duke’s shooting went south in the game’s final 20 minutes. As a team, the Devils made 23 percent of their field-goal attempts in the final frame.

“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: If he plays then the answer here is Zion Williamson. The eventual first pick of June’s NBA draft scored 30 points and grabbed 15 rebounds against Syracuse in January. He’s a game-changer on every level and someone who could eat the middle of the Orange’s zone in one bite. Of course, he didn’t play in the rematch in February and still very well could miss out on tonight’s game too.

Otherwise, R.J. Barrett poured in 30 points in the Dome last February, so he too should be one to watch. The freshman forward seemingly hit all of the absolutely necessary shots, at times when Duke needed him to do so. With his having worked against the zone in Syracuse, he should be more than ready to face it again tonight in Charlotte.

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Lastly, I have to mention Alex O’Connell, who nailed 5 of his 8 3-point attempts against the Orange last month. O’Connell is a 38-percent shooter from distance this season (down a tick from last year), and he has hit at least one in four of the last five games. Even though Barrett stole the show with his monster game in the Dome, I’m not so sure Duke would have won that game without O’Connell’s remarkable play.

If Syracuse Wins: Whooooo, boy, that’s a statement. I know some of you get annoyed that I still write about Syracuse’s potentially being on the wrong side of the bubble. Did last night end that talk from me? Kind of. Maybe?

But here’s the deal, if the Orange takes down the Blue Devils in Charlotte tonight, then all bubble talk is officially banned from here on out. That goes double if Syracuse beats Duke without Tyus Battle, who missed Wednesday’s game and might still be a couple of “days away” from playing due to a reportedly injured tailbone.

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-Pittsburgh vs Syracuse Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

If Syracuse Loses: Personally I really do see Syracuse as “in” for the NCAA Tournament regardless of tonight’s outcome. And losing to a loaded Duke team isn’t going to change much when it comes to the overall resume. Yet, even with all of that, depending on how the rest of the conference tourneys play out, it might get a little sweaty from Syracuse on Sunday.

Fun Fact No. 1: Raycom Sports’ basketball analyst Mike Gminski (RIP, Raycom) played for Duke during his collegiate days and even had his jersey retired by the program. But what’s even more impressive is that Gminski was also inducted into the National Polish American Sports Hall of Fame back in 2003.

Fun Fact No. 2: Since 1984, Duke has made the tournament in every season but one (1995). Furthermore, the “worst” seed in the NCAA Tournament the Blue Devils have earned in that period has been eight (1996).