The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team is now entering a very crucial stretch in the schedule. From now through Feb. 9, SU will play seven games against bubble-type squads. If the Orange have any shot of making the NCAA Tournament this year, it’s pretty crucial they pick up at least three wins (if not four) in this portion of the schedule. The Miami Hurricanes are arguably the most winnable game in that group, so a win here is imperative.
Before this matchup tips off at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday (and televised on the ACC Network), the TNIAAM staff predicts what they believe could happen.
Syracuse 76, Miami 69
Syracuse has lost two games in a row so there will be surprise that Jim Boeheim will have those boys working a little harder to end this losing skid. What better way to do it against the Canes who have a squad full of young players who do not have much experience playing in the NCAA. They lost four seniors before coming in the new season and that has shown on their record, currently sitting at .500 with a 6-6 record. This won’t stop their squad from competing, however. They have shown that they can compete with anyone despite their record, keeping the game close between teams like Virginia Tech and Clemson. Riding off a rejuvenated Quincy Guerrier who is fresh off of scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in the last outing, it will only be right to ride off of him to get the victory for Syracuse. Guerrier has been that guy all season and Christian has stressed that enough for us all to realize. What will be key to winning this particular matchup is defense. If you’re going up against an inexperienced team, a Jim Boeheim 2-3 zone is all you need to force those much needed mistakes where the Orange can punish Miami for on the other end.
Miami 64, Syracuse 59
Something drastically needs to change for Syracuse. As much as people want to see man-to-man, I don’t think that the Orange defense is going to get miraculously better. The Orange offense is another story. We know that Syracuse can get hot and that the Orange have great offensive spells where ball movement allows for open and efficient shots. However, if the egos of Syracuse’s guards continue to get in the way like they’ve been in the past few games, Miami will easily win. The Orange aren’t going to win a game where a large majority of the shots are from deep. Unfortunately, I think Syracuse is going to do just that, and as a result, the Orange are headed for another loss.
Syracuse 75, Miami 71
After Saturday’s embarrassment I’d expect a bit more focus and urgency from the Orange tonight. I think Alan Griffin can once again lead the Syracuse offense with his shooting. Instead of asking him to handle the ball a lot, the Orange should look to get Griffin open off of screens where he can elevate and shoot. On the other end of the floor Syracuse needs to force someone other than Isaiah Wong to beat them.
Miami 78, Syracuse 70
Miami is prone to giving up the three, but the interior defense is much better than its perimeter focus. Expect Syracuse to have another tough go of it on the glass, but what’s really concerning is Isaiah Wong’s 30 point performance in the win over Louisville. He shouldn’t have much issue against the revolving door 2-3 zone and look for sharpshooting freshman Matt Cross to get going as well. Miami by three possessions.
Miami 77, Syracuse 71
We’ve been here before, of course. Syracuse gets smoked by a middling opponent, everyone doubts Jim Boeheim and the direction of the program, then ‘Cuse reels off a few unexpected wins to right-size everything. I’m really hoping that’s what we’re getting here, instead of what I think happens — another team that seems well-suited to beat a struggling Orange squad picks apart their defense and exploits issues on the boards. Think if we see any foul trouble for Marek Dolezaj or Quincy Guerrier, that’ll end SU’s chances against a Miami squad that should fare well inside.
Now it’s your turn...
Who will the game between Syracuse and Miami?
This poll is closed
Syracuse, and we’re back in business
Miami, and there aren’t enough lifeboats