Last time out against the Virginia Cavaliers, things didn’t go so well for the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team. But a lot has happened since then, and Syracuse really needs this win to make the NCAA Tournament. The Hoos have typically stepped aside when the Orange need something to happen, so what’s stopping that from occurring once again?
Before this ACC Tournament quarterfinal matchup gets going from Greensboro at noon ET, TNIAAM offers up its picks for the game (and so do you).
Virginia 71, Syracuse 68
I’d like to think that Syracuse is a better team than they were the last time they played Virginia. However, the Orange have shown a tendency to fall back into bad habits this season. With a team that plays defense like the Cavaliers, Syracuse could get desperate to create shots. That means the Orange could likely fall into the trap to force isolation shots up against the Virginia defense, which contributed to the Syracuse loss the last time these teams played. The Orange have a recipe to beat the Cavaliers as Syracuse has already beat a similar tough defense in Clemson this year. As long as the Orange play hot potato with the ball and continually pass the rock to create open shots and catch-and-shoot opportunities, Syracuse have a chance at an upset. That being said, I think the Orange will fall back into isolation ball once again, leading to their downfall.
Virginia 67, Syracuse 60
The Orange moved the ball incredibly well against NC State and if they want to pull off the upset today they need to continue that strategy. Syracuse ran a lot of off-ball screens for Buddy Boeheim and when he got the ball they moved to give him options to pass out of double-teams. Virginia is going to defend the perimeter so Syracuse needs to be patient and not revert back to a lot of dribbling and isolation. A lot of Orange fans think the team is safe but a loss here is going to leave the door open for someone to sneak in so I think we’ll be doing a lot of scoreboard watching until Sunday.
Syracuse 65, Virginia 64
Okay, I’m doing it. I’m drinking the kool-aid. Syracuse is playing its best basketball of the season at current. While the Orange won’t get the same open looks as it did on Wednesday, the offense should carry over to some degree against UVa. The 2-3 zone has picked up of late and Virginia comes into this game having lost three of its last five. The Hoos didn’t exactly look great in wins over Louisville and Miami, either. Syracuse pulls of the upset and locks up a tournament bid (I think they’re in either way) and everyone draws parallels to the 2006 Big East Tournament while also making their Virginia/No. 1 seed jokes.
Virginia 68, Syracuse 61
Look, I’d love to believe that the ghost of (very much alive) Malachi Richardson is going to show up on the court, possess Alan Griffin and give us the win we very much need to make the NCAA Tournament. However, I do think this remains a terrible matchup for Syracuse, we know they can smother the Orange offense, and they’re just too damn efficient on both ends to fall for the same nonsense that worked vs. NC State. It’ll be closer than the loss to the Hoos earlier this year. Just not enough.
Now it’s your turn...
Who wins the game between Syracuse and Virginia?
This poll is closed
Syracuse, and PUT ON YOUR THREE GOGGLES
Virginia, and hope you’re ready to drink on Sunday