After last week’s misguided attempt at predictions which saw all five of us proven resoundingly wrong by picking the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team to beat Clemson, we try again here on Tuesday. Syracuse beat our next opponent, the N.C. State Wolfpack by three just 10 days ago. Now they’ll try to do it again down in Raleigh. While we all avoid jinxing this team.
Before the game tips off at the weird time of 6:30 p.m. ET on ACC Network, TNIAAM does its best to predict the outcome.
Syracuse 71, NC State 64
Syracuse got out-rebounded last game against the Wolfpack 37-35. That was a big part of why NC State was able to keep it close towards the end. With Bourama Sidibe back I expect this to change. I also expected Kadary Richmond to increase his tally in steals because now the pass to the high post becomes more difficult against this 2-3 zone when both players are in the game. NC State are going to struggle offensively this game and they will get annoyed both on the perimeter and the interior.
NC State 65, Syracuse 63
Syracuse hasn’t shown me any reason why it won’t stick with jump shots for the majority of any game this season, even if it is the most inefficient form of offense. That lack of shot discipline makes it tough for me to choose the Orange to win in any game where their opponents are of a similar strength. This probably deserves a longer article, but Syracuse needs a drastic overhaul of their offensive ideologies to keep up with the rest of the league. We knew the defense won’t be great unless certain personnel are on the floor. That leaves the offense to win games for the Orange, and right now there are too many variables that Syracuse needs to hit in order to safely win a game.
NC State 66, Syracuse 62
The combination of DJ Funderburk, Jericole Hellems and Manny Bates are going to challenge the Syracuse front court. Bourama Sidibe looked to be unable to provide more than limited minutes so it’s going to be imperative that the Orange are going to have to dig in like they did in the second half last week if they want to get this important road win. Avoiding foul trouble is going to be important as will Syracuse’s shot selection. NC State’s backcourt is on the small side so the Syracuse guards need to attack the basket and look to dish when the shot blockers collapse.
NC State 77, Syracuse 70
The first meeting between these two teams could’ve went either way. Syracuse had trouble containing Hellems and Bates the first time around, so adding Funderburk to the mix will only give the beleaguered Orange center position increased difficulty, even if Bourama Sidibe plays. NC State doesn’t rebound it well but should get on the glass a little more in this game. Braxton Beverly is probably good for a handful of threes as well. NC State wins at home and covers the spread.
Syracuse 76, NC State 75
Maybe this is overly optimistic on my end, but I do see this is as the sort of game that a veteran group like this one can come away with. It has all the hallmarks of a surprisingly one-sided Syracuse win after a blowout... but the foundation’s a bit less stable for this team right now. They’ll get the win, barely, but at least we see some improvement in terms of shot selection and defense. That’s enough for now, and hopefully pairs with the BC game to create some more confidence for Syracuse down the stretch.
Now it’s your turn...
Who wins the Syracuse vs. NC State game?
This poll is closed
Syracuse, and if this was the tradeoff for another Tom Brady Super Bowl, so be it
NC State, and it smells like smoke