The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team is 7-2 with solid efforts in both defeats, yet there’s still plenty of concern around this group’s play so far. One way to help alleviate some of those concerns? A win at the North Carolina Tar Heels (7-4, 2-2) on Tuesday night. So let’s make that happen, shall we?
Before this one tips off at the very late hour of 9 p.m. ET on ACC Network, the TNIAAM staff weighs in on what might happen.
Syracuse 84, UNC 76
Not only was the Georgetown rivalry game a confidence booster for the squad, but it was also a game that the Orange really needed to bounce back from following a devastating upset to the Panthers. What stood out to me was how well Syracuse shot from behind the arc, shooting an astonishing 41%. It didn’t end there though, the defense had no answer for Buddy Boeheim who entered the season with high expectations considering he was the second scoring option to Elijah Hughes last year.
To see him go off for 21 points with all that he’s been through already missing some games due to contact tracing shows that we’re in for nothing but good news in these next couple of games. Don’t forget about Joe Girard, as much as he is scolded for not having a good selection at times, he had a mini outburst of his own going for 18 points, 8 assists, and a clutch bucket down the stretch against the Hoyas.
UNC 65, Syracuse 63
I think the rebounding margin will be too much to overcome for the Orange. The Tar Heels have the third-best rebounding margin in the nation at 12.8. The three-headed frontcourt monster of Day’ron Sharpe, Armando Bacot, and Garrison Brooks might just be too much for Syracuse to handle. The Orange won’t have the necessary shots to establish offensive momentum when the UNC forwards are grabbing every board possible.
For the record, my prediction changes if Bourama Sidibe plays. I think he provides enough length and size to contest some of those rebounds to give Syracuse extra possessions and second chances. However, if Sidibe can’t go, I don’t see Guerrier and Dolezaj lasting the whole game against UNC’s bigs.
UNC 75, Syracuse 71
I think Syracuse can win this game but the uncertainty over Bourama Sidibe’s status leads me to give the Tar Heels the edge. UNC is a bad shooting team but they dominate on the offensive glass and if Sidibe’s out or very limited I don’t see how Marek Dolezaj can hold up for another 40 minutes at the 5. UNC got to rest and start preparing for the zone over the weekend so Syracuse on a quick turnaround will need to ride a strong offensive performance if they want to grab a key ACC road win.
North Carolina 73, Syracuse 67
The names change but the game stays the same. Expect UNC to push the pace and try to attack the 2-3 zone before it can set up. What this Tar Heel team lacks in shooting and dynamic perimeter play it makes up for with rebounding and depth on the inside. North Carolina shouldn’t have much difficulty rebounding on either side of the ball, but especially on the offensive end. Syracuse will have to shoot its way out of the Dean Dome to win, but dollars to donuts, North Carolina gets it done on the inside to take the victory.
UNC 70, Syracuse 66
The battle on the boards has been crucial all season, with the Orange going 7-0 in games where they have the advantage there. One could also argue that SU’s abilities there (39.9 rebounds per game) are a bit exaggerated by a handful of lopsided results. That could prove problematic against a bigger North Carolina squad averaging nearly 45 boards per game, with four players averaging more than six. If the Heels can find an edge on the offensive glass (likely) and/or create foul trouble inside with their bigs, that’ll be enough to do in ‘Cuse barring an electric shooting night from beyond the arc.
Now it’s your turn...
Who wins the game between Syracuse and UNC?
This poll is closed
Syracuse, and let’s start talking about being ranked again
UNC, and you can’t stomach wine and cheese for weeks