It’ll be a busy day on Saturday as the Syracuse Orange (16-14, 9-10) look to close out the regular season on a positive note with a game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (18-12, 10-9). It’s a full docket on tap in the JMA Wireless Dome - Senior day is coupled with celebrating the 20th anniversary of the 2003 National Championship and the jersey hangings of Gerry McNamara and Hakim Warrick.
Of course, surrounding all the celebrations is the small matter of a basketball game. Unfortunately, Syracuse is tasked with knocking off the evil stench of one of the worst defensive stretches in recent Orange basketball history. It’s a four-game losing streak for Syracuse, with the last three loses coming with each opponent scoring at least 90 points and at least 14 three pointers.
Well, most of you know the old adage in sports: You’ve got to have a short memory. Do we at TNIAAM think that Syracuse has a short enough memory to put the losing streak behind and grab a win before the ACC tournament?
Wake Forest 74, Syracuse 65
I can’t pretend to be optimistic after being at Tuesday night’s game. Despite Christian insisting this team is just a figment of my imagination, I witnessed real Syracuse players finally give up on Jim Boeheim’s system. The usual Jesse-Joe-Judah combo will hopefully keep things a bit more interesting, but the many flashbacks to a better time and place won’t change what’s happening in the present. ‘Cuse manages to not get blown out this time, but limps into the ACC Tournament as the 10 seed nonetheless.
Wake Forest 90, Syracuse 78
The big problem with Syracuse playing Wake is that the Demon Deacons have way too many shooters available. Each opponent has hit double-digit threes during the Orange four-game losing streak. With four players above 33% shooting from distance and with two players above 65 made threes this season, Syracuse’s defense looks ripe for another meltdown. I’m not convinced that the Orange defense we’ve seen over the past few games can be magically fixed with a look in the mirror.
Syracuse 81, Wake Forest 78
Joe Girard is going to celebrate his 1st Senior Day by hitting 6 3-pointers in the first half. Tyree Appleby will shred the Syracuse zone for over 20 points and 10 assists but Maliq Brown makes a saving block on a Daivien Williamson shot from the corner to secure the win in the first leg of this home/neutral match-up.
Wake Forest 85, Syracuse 81,
I second Kevin’s point in the sense that both teams should be in the high-seventies to low-eighties in points in this one. The real concern is the Orange’s defense. Coming off a disaster-fest against Georgia Tech, it’s hard to see Syracuse stop a Wake Forest program scoring the third-most points per game in the ACC. It will at least be an entertaining game, but my optimism for ‘Cuse is nowhere to be found.
Wake Forest 91, Syracuse 75
I understand the angle of Syracuse rallying around senior day, the jersey retirements and playing for a bye in the ACC Tournament, but it’s hard to minimize the way the team has played in the last four games. The 2-3 zone will continue to get shredded and Wake Forest still has plenty of outside threats even without Damari Monstanto. The Orange offense can keep pace, but with the defense being at its nadir, Syracuse surrenders 90+ for the fourth straight game.
Now it’s your turn:
Who wins the game between Syracuse and Wake Forest?
This poll is closed
Syracuse and all the Denny’s in Greensboro are not safe
Wake Forest and all of Central New York rushes to figure out how man-to-man defense works