Welp, this is not ideal. The Syracuse Orange are in must-win mode the rest of the way and the North Carolina Tar Heels are... not, following an impressive win over Florida State. As you’re very aware, Syracuse has struggled mightily against North Carolina since joining the ACC. Notably, however, the last time the Orange faced the Heels in a March must-win game, SU thumped UNC.
Can that happen again this time, when it’s once again desperately needed? Before this game tips off at 7 p.m. ET from the
Dome Stadium and on ESPN, the TNIAAM staff makes its picks.
Syracuse 82, UNC 80
The Orange aren’t going to win this game on defense but they are also due for a strong offensive performance. UNC’s strength on the boards means Syracuse needs to be efficient and take good shots. There is an opportunity for the Orange to keep their post-season hopes flickering if they can pull this one off but they will need to put together a solid 40 minutes to do so.
UNC 75, Syracuse 61
I’ve lost all faith in this Syracuse offense. Any type of offensive explosion will be considered, and rightfully so, as a fluke. Now with Walter Kessler coming into form, UNC has four options they can turn to at any time to dominate the paint. All that adds up to is a bad time for the Orange.
UNC 81, Syracuse 65
Syracuse’s sterling 11-1 home record will take a dent on Monday night. That will be due to the lack of interior defense as the No. 1 offensive rebounding team in the country takes advantage of the slender Syracuse front-court. Garrison Brooks/Armando Bacot/Day’Ron Sharpe/Walker Kessler shouldn’t have much resistance inside. Add a Syracuse offense that looked listless on Saturday (from everyone not named Alan Griffin) into the mix and that doesn’t bode well against a UNC team that just knocked off the best team in the league (Florida State).
UNC 78, Syracuse 68
Syracuse’s slow starts have become enough of a trend where opponents are definitely game-planning to replicate them. If North Carolina can do that, it won’t mean as much hot-shooting from outside as it will crushing the Orange’s interior defense, which likely creates some early foul trouble too. Would love to believe SU has some magic left, but there are just too many issues and it’s been awhile since Syracuse put together a complete and impressive game (which they’ll need to win here).
Now it’s your turn...
Who’s going to win the game between Syracuse and UNC?
This poll is closed
Syracuse, and that’s one!
UNC, and this is a freefall