Here we go: the final regular season game of the year has arrived. The Syracuse Orange (19-11, 10-7) are traveling down South Carolina to take on the Clemson Tigers (18-12, 8-9) on Saturday at noon. Syracuse took care of business against the Tigers back on January 9 when these two sides first met in the Carrier Dome, but we know winning on the road in the ACC is not an easy task (despite SU doing a lot of it this year).
So here are the final regular season predictions from the TNIAAM team— let’s see what the “experts” have to say.
Syracuse 69, Clemson 63
The Orange were able to win the first meeting between these two sides with stellar defense, and again it’ll be lockdown defense in the second half that gives Syracuse the narrow win. Tyus Battle is going to come out angry after his last outing, and he’ll put up a game high in points. Marek Dolezaj is going to be successful passing the ball, as he’ll use his energy and versatility to help Syracuse end the regular season with the win.
Syracuse 68, Clemson 65
This is a game that doesn’t carry a ton of risk for the Orange. A road win over the Tigers gives Syracuse another Q1 to add to their total while a loss doesn’t carry a lot of damage to the NCAA resume. While the Orange don’t play a pretty brand of basketball, this is a team willing to grind out games in difficult environments, and I expect Tyus Battle will rebound on Saturday and help Syracuse head into the ACC Tournament on a good note.
Clemson 66, Syracuse 65
Disloyal! While I think the extended stretch between Monday and Saturday games should serve Syracuse well, Clemson is in dire need of a win here squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble. I like a team at home with its back against the wall to win. Tyus Battle should be able to get going in this game but the offense struggles in Syracuse’s final ACC game. Elijah Thomas should have a better game than he did the first time agains Syracuse and Marcquise Reed will do the heavy lifting scoring the ball. Clemson earns an important quadrant two win over Syracuse just before the ACC Tournament.
Syracuse 64, Clemson 59
Marcquise Reed is going to score his points, but Clemson’s ability to win will be dictated by what forward Elijah Thomas is able to do on the offensive end. He’s averaged 13.2 points per game and has hit double digits in the last seven. If he can pull the zone in, it’ll free up more open shots form outside for the Tigers. They’re not great from distance (33.2 percent), but we’ve seen a lot of teams find ways to shoot over the zone this year. Syracuse just needs to avoid letting Thomas get going and hopefully create some offense on par with what we saw in the first half against Virginia. That should be enough.
Who will win the Syracuse vs. Clemson game?
This poll is closed
The Orange, and we’re dancing our way into Charlotte, North Carolina!
The Tigers, and we may need to sweat just a little longer.