Tuesday night’s game will present a major opportunity for the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team to secure a big win early in the season.
The Orange (3-1) will look to secure its 50th all-time win against the St. John’s Red Storm(5-0) in the final game of the 2022 Empire Classic. A win for SU could be an early resume builder if the team is looking to return to the March Madness conversation.
Both programs are coming off of close victories in the Empire Classic semifinals, with each team beating its opponents by single digits.
Here’s our predictions for the proverbial gold medal game:
St. John’s 73, Syracuse 65
Entering Tuesday night’s contest, St. John’s ranks in the top 45 in adjusted defensive efficiency, per KemPom. SJU is a physical, tough team that could give the Orange some trouble in generating some easy points. I fear that Jesse Edwards might be in foul trouble early, with Syracuse not having a solid plan b in the event of his potentially limited playing time. Against Richmond, the Orange relied heavily on some hot shooting from Joe Girard and a couple clutch baskets from Judah Mintz, but they had little other help. Against a team as defensively smart and physical as SJU, it’ll be tough for the Orange to sneak out with a victory. Still, expect a close game until the final minutes.
St. John’s 75, Syracuse 60
If Syracuse is going to win this game against St. John’s, someone needs to help Joe Girard hit threes. We saw a couple fall from Chris Bell, but the lack of other reliable perimeter shooters means that the interior battle will tip heavily to the Red Storm. Jim Boeheim said that his forwards in Bell and Benny Williams haven’t developed into rebounders yet, and without forward help on the boards, Jesse Edwards is going to have a rough time trying to keep St. John’s off the glass. Add the fact that St. John’s have scored 92 points in the paint over their last two games and this could be a long day underneath the basket.
St. John’s 84, Syracuse 70
I’d love to be proven wrong two nights in a row... but the eye test does not favor the Orange in this one. St. John’s has five quality starters capable of scoring in about every way imaginable. Joel Soriano is going to create a lot of second chance opportunities, and although the three isn’t their preferred shot, the Red Storm have the talent to take advantage of an SU defense still allowing too many open looks along the perimeter. For Syracuse to get the upset, the 4 & 5 both need to contribute more scoring than they have been, and the bench has to do more than just eat minutes.
St. John’s 81, Syracuse 71
This figures to be a growing pains kind of game for a young team. The St. John’s offense is a little too hot to handle for the Syracuse defense at this point in the season. While Syracuse should be able to hang on the offensive end, the 2-3 zone—although improving—has been too easy to exploit thus far. Throw in a St. John’s offense that likes to get up and down and an offensive rebounding team that’s top 20 in the country and that’s a tough recipe for this young Orange team to overcome.
Syracuse 73, St. John’s 72
The advantage of being last is I get to see that everyone is a #disloyalidiot so I’ll put on my orange-colored glasses. Last night wasn’t pretty but Syracuse survived a Jesse Edwards foul game against a Richmond team that was hot from 3. Now to win tonight the rebounding has to be better and Syracuse can’t turn the ball over. St. John’s wants to hit the glass and run so Syracuse needs to force them into a half-court game. The Orange will need more bench production tonight, but Chris Bell and Judah Mintz both took and made shots that only confident players make so maybe they are ready to become the impact players that their rankings suggested?
Now it’s your turn
Who wins the game between Syracuse and St. John’s?
This poll is closed
St. John’s wins and the Thanksgiving table talk is about Boeheim’s retirement
Syracuse wins and the Thanksgiving table talk is about where Lunardi will seed the Cuse