After back to back wins last week (including one against a ranked Virginia Tech squad), the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team is very much knocking on the door of NCAA Tournament consideration. One thing that would help that case immensely would be an upset win on the road over the Virginia Cavaliers. However, that’s a pretty tall order.
In advance of Monday night’s big matchup, the TNIAAM staff makes their picks about what’s going to happen between SU and the Hoos.
Virginia 65, Syracuse 62
Can Syracuse contain a guy that stretches the floor like Sam Hauser? I don’t think so. Coupled with the history that Jay Huff has against the Orange and Syracuse could be in for a rough afternoon. However, something tells me this game will be a lot closer than the spread indicates. Someone has to help Hauser and Huff for Virginia. While those two guys are good, there aren’t too many reliable forms of scoring on the Cavaliers roster outside of them. It’ll come down to which form of offense Syracuse finds to be most consistent. Employ the same game plan against the Hokies by starting with the three. If those aren’t falling, the inside attack needs to come alive again. This one could be closer than most think.
Virginia 68, Syracuse 64
Both of these teams come into the game on winning streaks but with a short turnaround after playing Saturday. I think the key will be which team avoids foul trouble on the interior. It would be wise of Syracuse to attack Sam Hauser and Jack Salt as they have been the offensive keys for the Cavaliers this season. Joe Girard and Buddy Boeheim will need to take care of the ball and be patient in this one. Good shots will come if they force Virginia to collapse inside. The Syracuse zone is going to have to keep Kihei Clark from penetrating the zone because Virginia’s shooters will hit open looks if the zone rotations are slow to cover. This is a game the Orange can win but they need to play smart and patient basketball.
Virginia 69, Syracuse 60
The one glaring weakness of this Virginia team is its three point defense. That will be the area of the game Syracuse needs to exploit for its second consecutive win in Charlottesville. But Virginia is the better team on both ends of the floor and I suspect Sam Hauser will get going and Jay Huff to give the interior of the 2-3 zone some fits. The Orange put up a good fight, but Virginia takes it at home by three possessions.
Virginia 74, Syracuse 60
Maybe there’s a reality where SU gets hot from outside and makes this interesting. But the Orange offense is usually at its worst when it’s not making things happen in the paint. Virginia doesn’t really let anything happen inside, so that could pose a little bit of an issue... or turn Syracuse into a team that’s just inaccurately bombing threes. Unfortunately, I think that’s what happens, versus some random instance of us just nailing 40% or more from outside.
Now it’s your turn...
Who will win the game between Syracuse and Virginia?
This poll is closed
Syracuse, and you’re sending Malachi Richardson images to the UVA fan in your life again
Virginia and it’s fine, you haven’t stopped drinking since the Bills lost anyway