It feels like the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team was just in action, yet here we are again on a Tuesday night. With slim NCAA Tournament hopes hanging in the balance to an extent, the Orange host the N.C. State Wolfpack — another ACC squad hoping to stick around the bubble conversation.
State’s in a similar spot to Syracuse, at 15-8 (6-6 in conference play) with a win at Virginia, plus some other quality Ws and close losses to good teams. Either team can recover from a loss here, but SU arguably has a little less room to breathe on that front with an additional loss already tallied.
Before the game tips off on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. ET — on ESPN2 — we asked the TNIAAM staff to predict the outcome.
Syracuse 73, NC State 68
NC State is shooting 31.9% from 3 on the season and doesn’t figure to overpower Syracuse inside or on the boards, so this shouldn’t be a bad matchup for the Orange. CJ Bryce and Markell Johnson, however, do shoot well from the free throw area, so the Orange’s 2-3 zone will need to make sure to take those shots away. I think the Orange play a tighter game than last and win late, picking up an important win against a fellow bubble team.
Syracuse 74, NC State 70
Pretty close to a “must win” for the Orange if they want to make the NCAA Tournament. Not only are we fighting for a spot with NC State in the Big Dance, but also in the ACC. If we win it will give us a two-game cushion over them, making it much more difficult for them to catch us. I think SU will struggle with the athleticism of C.J. Bryce, Markell Johnson, and DJ Funderburk, but ultimately the outside shooting of Buddy Boeheim and Elijah Hughes, coupled with the emergence of Marek Dolezaj’s interior game will get the Orange through. Look for Joe Girard to bounce back from a series of tough shooting games and play well.
Syracuse 73, NC State 70
This feels like a great time for Elijah Hughes to have a strong shooting performance. If the Syracuse frontcourt players can avoid bad fouls they can control the boards against the Wolfpack. The Orange need to play a full 40 minutes but this is an important game against another ACC team trying to get back on the bubble.
NC State 77, Syracuse 75
Come Hellems or high water, Syracuse is going to have to play a solid game tonight to get a quadrant two win and that Wake Forest game didn’t exactly inspire confidence. Jericole Hellems is a game-time decision, but NC State can hurt you in so many ways. The Wolfpack should be able to execute with CJ Bryce and Markell Johnson in the high-post and DJ Funderburk is going to be a problem down low. I look for Funderburk (great name btw) to get the Syracuse bigs in foul trouble and to have his way in the paint. Syracuse comes up just short at home.
NC State 74, Syracuse 71
I think Syracuse is the better team and also think the matchup favors the Orange to some extent. State doesn’t have a dominant big man and isn’t all that great from beyond the arc — the two things that can spell doom for ‘Cuse. So on paper, a good shooting day from outside should be enough for a Syracuse win. Yet, with a short turnaround after an emotionally draining (close) win over Wake, I think this game sees a return of a lot of the issues that have killed SU late. Against a better team like the Wolfpack, however (who are also on six days’ rest), it results in a loss.
Now it’s your turn...
Who will win the game between Syracuse and NC State?
This poll is closed
Syracuse, and we remain optimistic
NC State, and it’s getting a little warm in here