The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team (8-6, 1-2) suffered a pretty rough loss to Notre Dame over the weekend, and now need to recover quickly to avoid a potential freefall in ACC play. Up next is a home date with the Virginia Tech Hokies (10-4, 1-2).
Despite losing their coach and a lot of their team in the offseason, Tech’s actually looked pretty good this year. Along with knocking off Clemson and Michigan State, they... also got stomped by Virginia in their most recent game. Before the loss to the Hoos, they’d won four in a row too. A road win against SU would be a nice one for the Hokies’ resume. Should Syracuse lose this game, it’s likely we’re staring at 8-8 with Virginia up next on Saturday. Yikes...
Before the game tips off on Tuesday night at 9 p.m. ET on ACC Network, we asked the TNIAAM staff to predict what they think will happen.
Syracuse 74, Virginia Tech 70
I expect this to be another close, back and forth game. These two teams are fairly evenly matched, and I think in the end the home court advantage will be just a big enough edge for the Orange down the stretch.
Look for Elijah Hughes and Buddy Boeheim to continue their solid play on offense. I also think this is a game where Quincy Guerrier can do quite well. Virginia Tech doesn’t have an imposing big man, so it should give him and the rest of the forwards and centers a bit of an easier time inside.
Syracuse 80, Virginia Tech 76
This game could easily be another shootout. The only other ACC team besides Notre Dame that’s made more three-pointers than Syracuse is Virginia Tech (the Irish and Hokies are tied at 144 while the Orange have made 138, all through 14 games). Although the Hokies are shooting 3-percent higher from deep on the season than the Irish, it’s their rebounding and lack of a dominant big man that give Syracuse a better chance in this game. As long as Syracuse either doesn’t let Virginia Tech get too hot from deep or they match the Hokies’ shooting, I think an easier game inside and on the glass for the Orange leads to their first win of the new year.
Virginia Tech 75, Syracuse 72
I’m not sure what to make of the Hokies this season but Mike Young’s willing to use his bench and play a smaller, quicker lineup which could give the Orange guards problems. Va Tech isn’t a strong interior team so that’s very good news for the Syracuse defense but Landers Nolley II is going to be the player the Orange cannot afford to let loose. While the Orange offense has improved I’ve yet to see enough from the defense to feel comfortable taking Syracuse to win.
Syracuse 72, Virginia Tech 68
Agh, yes. It’ll be a 9:00 p.m. tip from the Carrier Dome on a Tuesday night. Just like everyone wanted... Sarcasm aside, VT plays at one of the slowest tempos in the country, so I don’t expect this game to get up in the 80s like the Notre Dame matchup. Landers Nolley is going to give out many a bucket against Syracuse’s (sub-100 KenPom defense) 2-3 zone. But the Hokies might not have enough outside of Nolley to get a win on the road against a hot shooting Syracuse team. Tech isn’t great defensively, so Syracuse pulls out a much-needed victory at home. For the loyal Syracuse fans attending/staying up late for this one, may you grab multiple coffees on Wednesday and be merry.
Syracuse 71, Virginia Tech 68
SU’s guards are going to have some problems on the defensive end, but I do think that they can do well enough to avoid this one from getting away from them. The question will be whether or not shots are going to fall for the Orange — always a dice roll with this group of fairly streaky players aside from Elijah Hughes. It won’t be an impressive victory, but SU manages to fight out a win on the boards against a Hokies squad that’s shown itself to struggle in that department too. For now, at least, we avoid the bottom falling out.
Now it’s your turn...
Who wins the matchup between Syracuse and Virginia Tech?
This poll is closed
Syracuse, and we feel okay for a couple days
Virginia Tech and the NIT’s quickly becoming a pipedream