After a rough trip down to the Bahamas last week, the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team returns to the court at just 3-3, trying to actively avoid their first 3-4 start ever under Jim Boeheim. You’d be nervous no matter who ‘Cuse was facing on Tuesday night given all of that. But chances are the Indiana Hoosiers, in particular, won’t make you feel great.
But how does the TNIAAM staff feel about this ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup? Before things get going from the Dome at 7 p.m. ET (and on ESPN2 for those watching at home), our picks are below. And for those looking to bet on this one, the Orange are currently -2.5 underdogs per DraftKings (odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details).
Indiana 84, Syracuse 68
I hate to do this, but the Orange may just get drubbed yet again here as the defense has been a wreck and the offense has completely lost its early-season effectiveness. Meanwhile, Indiana’s 6-0, a top-60 team offensively by KenPom ratings, and top-20 defensively. A possible saving grace is that the Hoosiers aren’t an incredible team on the boards, but getting into a shootout here — especially against a player like IU’s Trayce Jackson-Davis (20.5 points per game) — is the worst thing that can happen, yet also seems like the most likely occurrence. Not great.
Syracuse 81, Indiana 77
The Orange might get a decent match-up here despite having to face Trayce Jackson-Davis. Indiana hasn’t played a road game yet this season and they don’t take a lot of 3’s. They have been very strong defensively especially on the defensive glass so Syracuse will need to be more consistent on offense and willing to share the ball. If Jesse Edwards can stay out of foul trouble I think Syracuse can get a much needed OOC win. If not, then it’s going to be a long December round here.
Syracuse 77, Indiana 75
There’s no reason to think Syracuse wins this game after the way it played in the B4A, which is exactly why I’m picking Syracuse to win this game. But on one condition: that Jesse Edwards doesn’t get into foul trouble against TJD. Indiana is turnover prone but Syracuse needs to keep the ball out of the high-post to limit TJD’s touches inside. I think the Syracuse offense should be able to score even against Indiana’s stout defense, which has been somewhat buoyed (its defensive stats) by lesser competition. Buddy Boeheim puts up another 20 piece and just when you thought you were out, Syracuse pulls you back in.
Indiana 74, Syracuse 68
I really wanted to pick Syracuse for this game. Indiana hasn’t played anyone of note, and not many players are helping Trayce Jackson-Davis score. However, given what we’ve seen over the past couple of games, I think this might be another case of Syracuse beating themselves. The inexperienced Orange wings could easily lose track of Jackson-Davis, as they’ve done for many players already this season, and the offense goes back into hero ball mode when times get desperate, which shuts down the offense.
Indiana: 77, Syracuse: 72
While Indiana hasn’t seen the level of competition that Syracuse has this season, they have played much more as a unit. The level of connectivity on the team looks dangerous, even with Indiana’s 15.3 turnovers per game. The Hoosiers could cause Syracuse problems as they are still trying to build theirs up after some tough losses, but they still should put up a strong fight in their home arena. This game marks Indiana’s first on the road this season and while their 6-0 start isn’t all it’s made out to be, I expect IU to walk away with the win on Tuesday night.
Now it’s your turn...
Who wins the game between Syracuse and Indiana?
This poll is closed
Syracuse, and revenge for 1987 continues!
Indiana and welcome to hell week rolls into a brand new month