The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team might have finally figured something out on Tuesday in a win over Miami. Now we get to see if it’ll continue in the team’s first game against a ranked conference opponent this year. SU faces off with the Virginia Tech Hokies on Saturday. A win there would mean a whole lot toward the Orange’s current slim NCAA Tournament hopes. It would also vault them into the top half of what looks like a pretty questionable ACC once more.
Before this nooner gets going on Saturday on ACC Network Extra, the TNIAAM staff predicts what may happen.
Syracuse 76, Virginia Tech 65
Now that Syracuse is back in the win column, they’ll look to keep it that way. They have a big challenge up against a ranked Virginia Tech, who are 16th in the nation. This is the exact challenge the squad needs in order to gain more confidence moving forward. We saw last game that Girard can get hot quick when playing off the ball so I see Jim Boeheim playing Kadary Richmond more to help get those open looks for him. This will be a difference maker. Another thing they will have to do is connect on their threes. Against Miami earlier this season, Virginia Tech almost lost when the Hurricanes made 10 threes on their squad. Yeah we can say their rebounding played a big part too, but in that game Miami had 19 turnovers and lost by 2. If Syracuse takes care of the ball and catches fire from downtown this won’t be a contest. The only thing that can keep it close is the Orange’s rebounding problem, but hey, that’s why Jesse Edwards showed he can be the answer last game.
Virginia Tech 72, Syracuse 64
So what’s the big determining difference here? It’s once again going to be an inconsistent offense. One game doesn’t mean that Syracuse is going to completely abandon the three-ball, and the Orange are just too happy to fire those shots up all the time. It almost feels like Kadary Richmond has to be in the game to force Syracuse to think inside the arc, and as long as he stays on the bench, the Orange shot selection suffers too much to stay within striking distance of the Hokies.
Virginia Tech 75, Syracuse 71
If Syracuse can shoot like it did last game the Orange have a real shot at home. But there are still more questions than answers for this squad at current, particularly against a good Hokie team. Can the Syracuse guards get going against tough guards like Tyrece Radford and Wabissa Bede? What can the Orange do to mitigate All-ACC type player Keve Aluma inside? Will Jalen Cone come in off the bench and go off for multiple 3s as he did last year? The Miami game was a step in the right direction, but without seeing consistency out of this Syracuse team I’m willing to go with Virginia Tech.
Syracuse 81, Virginia Tech 73
I don’t think the Orange had a great shooting night against Miami so there is room for improvement in that area and I think we see some on Saturday. The Orange will have a size advantage and if they are patient and work the ball inside they should be able to score against the Hokies. Syracuse needs to feed Quincy Guerrier early and often in this one (and honestly every game the rest of the way). He’s the best offensive weapon and the Orange need to start treating him as such.
Virginia Tech 79, Syracuse 73
The fact that the Hokies shouldn’t beat Syracuse up inside too much could be a boon to the offense with Quincy Guerrier and Marek Dolezaj avoiding foul trouble. Still, I just think Tech has too many shooters and too much range for the Orange’s perimeter defense, and once they start stretching the zone, that could spell doom. It’ll be close, and that likely provides some hope going forward. Just not enough for the win.
Now it’s your turn...
Who will win the game between Syracuse and Virginia Tech?
This poll is closed
Syracuse, and the Dome remains Tech’s house of horrors in all sports
Virginia Tech, and it’s fine, you’re more of a Bills fan anyway