Yes, there’s a much bigger sporting event going on this weekend, but for the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team, THIS is the main event. With SU sitting outside the bubble for the most part, a strong win for the NCAA Tournament resume would certainly be appreciated. Now, will the Clemson Tigers oblige? They’re 2-4 in their last six games, but also beat Louisville and North Carolina in that stretch.
Before things get going on Saturday, the TNIAAM staff makes some picks about what happens between SU and Clemson.
Syracuse 72, Clemson 69
I expect Kadary Richmond to get more minutes in this game after his outing against NC State. He was a game changer in that one, scoring 14 points in only 16 minutes off the bench. They’ll need more of that against Clemson along with his size and high high IQ defensively at the top of the zone. Quincy Guerrier or Alan Griffin will have to step up more this game too because against NC State, they almost had their efforts put to waste. Guerrier only had 10 points so I expect him to raise those numbers up in this one.
Syracuse 70, Clemson 67
Aamir Simms is going to be a problem in the high post for the Orange but Syracuse needs to avoid collapsing on him and leaving others open. The Tigers rely on their defense to win so patience will be important when Syracuse has the ball. This game looks like another opportunity for Kadary Richmond to use his ability to get into the lane and keep Syracuse ahead at the final buzzer. This is a huge turning point in the season as Clemson is sliding down after a strong start and a win for the Orange will move them ahead of the Tigers in the ACC standings.
Syracuse 70, Clemson 65
Almost everything is going for Syracuse in this game. Clemson ranks in the bottom half of most major stat categories in the ACC. Add that the Tigers don’t often play a particularly tall lineup and Syracuse’s strategy should be clear. Find the best way to generate offensive rhythm. If the Orange continue to fall for their trap of taking jump shots, things can easily spiral out of control. But a game like this almost seems tailor made for Quincy Guerrier and Marek Dolezaj to dominate on the offensive front. If the Orange lose, it’ll be because they beat themselves.
Syracuse 65, Clemson 59
Something tells me the first one to 60 will win this game and Clemson hasn’t broke that threshold in a month. Syracuse’s improved offense will be going against Clemson’s improved defense, but the Tigers’ offense isn’t great and probably won’t be even against a porous 2-3 zone. The outside shooting might be difficult for the Orange, but if Syracuse can control the ball and get it inside to Quincy Guerrier effectively I like Syracuse to get out with a quad one win after six days of rest.
Syracuse 68, Clemson 65
I think this game could really turn into a slog if Syracuse’s shots aren’t falling and the Tigers are able to dictate tempo. But if Kadary Richmond can get 20-25 minutes and the Orange can avoid going TOO heavy on three-point tries (despite it being advantageous to do so based on Clemson’s three-point defense), there’s a chance they can score a nice road win vs. a good team that’s struggled of late. Stretching the Tigers’ defense and avoiding foul trouble won’t be easy, but it’s the most direct (and obvious) recipe for success.
Now it’s your turn...
Who will win the game between Syracuse and Clemson?
This poll is closed
Syracuse, and the ‘they get football, we get basketball’ arrangement stays intact
Clemson, and we’ve rescinded our gentlemen’s agreement about football