This game lacks some of the buzz of previous match-ups, but it’s an important game for both squads. The young Duke team has struggled this year to play consistent basketball while the Orange are hanging onto NCAA Tournament hopes and can’t slip lower. Tip-off between the Orange and the Blue Devils is scheduled for 6 pm EST on ESPN.
Here are our predictions:
Syracuse 68, Duke 65
This game might not be pretty to watch, but Duke’s lack of perimeter shooting (275th in the country in 3-pt %) gives Syracuse a chance to defend the Dome. Jesse Edwards is going to have to play smart again as it’ll be mostly up to him to keep Duke’s frontcourt off the offensive glass. While this isn’t a must-win game, it’s a game that Syracuse likely needs with games at Clemson and Pitt looming in the next week.
Duke 77, Syracuse 70
Don’t get me wrong, this is absolutely a winnable game. I would be happy to eat my words and stick #disloyalidiot in my Twitter bio for a while. But unfortunately, this game will not be the spectacle it has been since Syracuse joined the ACC. Instead of the 30k+ crowds we’ve come to expect from these matchups, there’s a good chance that it won’t even hit 25. That has to be demoralizing for a young group that has improved significantly as the season has progressed. Outside of that first 2013-14 season, this has always been about getting a massive upset in front of the largest crowd in college basketball. Sure, Duke hasn’t been great this season, but beating ‘Cuse will remain business as usual.
Syracuse 73, Duke 68
Call me crazy here given the Orange’s seven-straight losses against the Blue Devils, but remember that this isn’t the same god-tier Duke program Syracuse is used to. There’s also a case to be made that ‘Cuse is catching Duke at the right time, with the Blue Devils being just 7-5 since the start of the new year. Jesse Edwards will need to have another big game o counter Duke’s excellent rebounding, while the Orange have to hope Duke doesn’t kill its 2-3 zone with perimeter shooting. Syracuse enters the game coming off three-straight wins, including one that could become a Q1, while Duke barely survived against Notre Dame at home in its last game. I’m putting all my eggs in the momentum basket.
Duke 69, Syracuse 65
I do think this’ll be a lower scoring game. Both offenses aren’t what they used to be years ago, and Duke’s defense is too daunting right now. The defensive stats swing this game so far into the Blue Devils favor, especially the rebounding disparity. If Syracuse can push tempo like the Orange did against NC State, that can help make up for some of the disadvantages on the boards. If not, Jesse Edwards is going to need a lot of help cleaning up the boards. Jim Boeheim has asked his forwards to rebound all season long. They have to do it now in order to keep Syracuse’s very slim NCAA tournament hopes alive.
Syracuse 70, Duke 68
Ok, I’m doing it. Duke has had its struggles recently in a blowout loss to Miami, overtime defeat to Virginia and it just barely squeaked by a bad Notre Dame team. Because Duke doesn’t have the shooters to break the 2-3 zone from the outside, Syracuse should be able to pinch the zone and make it more difficult on the inside, which should also help with the rebounding. Nothing we’ve seen recently would seem to suggest the big three of Mintz, Girard and Edwards will be less than solid. Maliq Brown has been steady and Chris Bell’s defense has been getting better on top of what he provides on offense (shooting). Syracuse rounds into form and defeats Duke.
Now it’s your turn to tell us what will happen:
Who wins the game between Syracuse and Duke?
This poll is closed
Duke wins and maybe it’s time for a former guard to take over in Syracuse
Syracuse wins and maybe it’s time Duke asked Coach K if he’s ready to come back