The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team experienced its first loss in the Maui Invitational against Tennessee. Now it will try to keep its undefeated record against Gonzaga intact.
Syracuse is 2-0 all-time against Mark Few’s squad, with both wins coming in the NCAA Tournament. The Orange and Bulldogs tip at 2:30 p.m. as the first game on the second day of the Maui Invitational.
Kevin: Gonzaga 72, Syracuse 67
The Bulldogs shot 6 for 32 from 3 against Purdue but they were able to stay in the game thanks to 13 offensive rebounds. I’m worried that this advantage will increase against the Orange. Unless someone on Syracuse is going to help out on the glass, it could be another frustrating second half in Hawaii.
Szuba: Syracuse 73, Gonzaga 70
I’m not overly impressed with this Gonzaga team. They don’t take (or make) a lot of threes, don’t have a considerable inside presence, or get to the line a ton. The biggest concern in this game is the rebounding for Syracuse. The Orange will presumably lose that battle, but if it can compete on the glass and limit Ryan Nembhard and Graham Ike I like Syracuse to pull the upset. Look for a better game two from Mintz and Starling.
Mike: Gonzaga 67, Syracuse 65
Both ‘Zaga and ‘Cuse should be better in their worst Monday category: perimeter shooting for the Bulldogs and second chance plays for the Orange. The score will still be low because this type of tournament doesn’t allow for players to be well-rested, and both teams really only have 2-3 big scorers at present. SU’s bench can keep them in this if used properly, and with a big individual performance or two, an upset isn’t out of the question. Still, give me the ranked guys by a bucket - something tells me they get into the bonus first and take advantage.
Dom: Gonzaga 68, Syracuse 60
As much as I’d love to buck the trend here with our predictions so far, Gonzaga is still a talented team that can expose Syracuse’s current weaknesses. While they don’t have an elite strength, the Bulldogs (like Tennessee) will be unforgiving on any chance it can force the Orange into careless turnovers. The lack of rest makes games like these more up in the air, but it’s more Syracuse’s offensive limitations in the half-court that have me thinking Gonzaga will eventually sneak by with a win.
Max: Gonzaga 83, Syracuse 72
I hate to keep using the “experience” excuse, but that’s usually the difference in these neutral site games. Gonzaga has that in Creighton transfer Ryan Nembhard, who led the Bluejays to the Elite Eight last season. A 35-percent shooter from three a year ago, I think Nembhard’s in for a bounce-back game after going an abysmal 1-for-9 in the Bulldogs’ loss to Purdue. Keep an eye out for Wyoming transfer Graham Ike, who should cause problems for SU’s Naheem McLeod on the offensive glass.
Now it’s your turn:
Who wins in the Syracuse vs. Gonzaga game?
Syracuse and Spokane becomes annexed
Gonzaga and Mark Few makes another Boeheim joke