The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team needs to win the ACC Tournament if they want to make the NCAA Tournament. But before we get to that potential future, we need to focus on the game at hand: Wednesday’s second round matchup with the North Carolina Tar Heels.
If you didn’t watch last night, UNC trounced Virginia Tech, 78-56 and now has a shot to go on a little bit of a run here despite being the 14th and final seed in this year’s ACC Tournament. SU’s lost nine straight to the Heels too, which certainly adds another “fun” element to the game.
Before things tip off around 9 p.m. ET from Greensboro Coliseum, the TNIAAM staff weighs in on what may happen:
Syracuse 80, North Carolina 77
This is the time. I swear it. After nine straight losses to the Tar Heels, we finally get our act together and close them out. The games ends up being an offensive battle, matching Syracuse’s isolation and perimeter scoring vs. UNC’s interior presence. Although we won’t stop Garrison Brooks, I think we do a better job on Cole Anthony and he stops hitting threes from the stratosphere. That proves to be just enough for the Orange to hang around and pick up a late win on the back of some clutch shooting from Elijah Hughes.
Syracuse 81, North Carolina 77
Getting a rematch with North Carolina is not how Syracuse would prefer to begin its quest for a seemingly impossible ACC Tournament championship. The Tar Heels, with their rebounding prowess, potential to get hot from outside, and Roy Williams’ overall knowledge of how to pick apart the 2-3 zone, present one of the worst matchups for the Orange in the conference. Yet, in order to keep its unrealistic hope for an automatic bid alive, SU will have to put together a better defensive effort than two weeks ago, when the Orange presented poor resistance to UNC on defense. I think SU, with nothing left to lose, finally picks up a win over the Tar Heels by putting together a 3-point shooting performance reminiscent of earlier in the season. After all, what are the chances of 10 consecutive wins against SU for UNC?
North Carolina 85, Syracuse 70
Here we go again. Final Four 2016. ACC Tournament 2018. UNC is here to kill any March dreams the Orange have. Garrison Brooks looks ready to do more nasty things to the SU interior. The Tar Heels are now rolling on off a blowout against Virginia Tech. The Orange are reeling from another disastrous finish on Sunday. I’ve never been less confident in Syracuse winning a game, and suddenly that NIT hosting site doesn’t seem like much of a concern anymore.
North Carolina 84, Syracuse 77
While a lot of people are pointing out that UNC won’t shoot as well as they did in the Dome that ignores the advantage they have on the inside. Syracuse has to find a way to control Garrison Brooks without getting in foul trouble and without losing sight of Cole Anthony on the perimeter. The Orange really need to focus on getting the ball into the lane in the first half and save the 3s for transition looks only.
North Carolina 85, Syracuse 73
North Carolina has won nine straight games against Syracuse and I see no reason why it won’t be ten after what will essentially be a home game for UNC tonight. It’s hard to unsee what the Tar Heels did to Syracuse just a week and a half ago in the Carrier Dome. Cole Anthony and Garrison Brooks both had great games against the 2-3 zone and North Carolina got Christian Keeling going for 18. Add in the fact that Brandon Robinson got hot last night against Virginia Tech and this is all a recipe for disaster for Syracuse.
North Carolina 88, Syracuse 74
“Predictable,” I know. But UNC has enough offensive firepower to run Syracuse off the floor, as we noticed just over a week ago. And SU doesn’t have the defensive capabilities to hang with them, even if the offense can. I expect the Orange to hang around for longer than they did at the Dome, but eventually Carolina’s bigs are going to get Bourama Sidibe and Marek Dolezaj in trouble. And eventually the shots aren’t going to fall for a Syracuse team that’s not incredibly efficient whether inside or outside of the arc. Sounds like a bummer, but this feels like the end of the road.
Now it’s your turn...
Who will win the game between Syracuse and UNC?
This poll is closed
Syracuse, and the season continues!
UNC, and this thing’s over