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Syracuse vs. Duke: Game Time, TV, Radio & Meaningless Predicition

Syracuse hosts Duke at the Carrier Dome for the first of two meetings this season.

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange men's basketball team will play its equivalent of the Super Bowl on Saturday, as the No. 4-ranked Duke Blue Devils visit a sold-out Carrier Dome filled with 35,446 fans. The home attendance will match last year's record-breaking total that helped the Orange earn a slim 91-89 victory.

The Orange (16-8, 7-4 ACC) are looking to collect their first victory over a ranked opponent this season. This game could be the first of five ACC contests, to end the season, that will pit SU against a program ranked in the top 10. The Orange still have games against the Louisville Cardinals, Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Virginia Cavaliers. Syracuse and Duke will play each other again on Feb. 28.

The Blue Devils (21-3, 8-3) are riding a four-game winning streak, the latest victory coming Monday on the road against the Florida State Seminoles, 73-70. Duke is seemingly playing its best basketball of the season, as they also beat the then No. 4-ranked Virginia Cavaliers and the then No. 4-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish during this four-game stretch.

Syracuse Starters Class Height Weight PPG RPG APG MPG
Rakeem Christmas Sr. 6'9" 250 18.0 9.3 1.4 34.0
Trevor Cooney Jr. 6'4" 195 14.8 2.5 2.5 37.6
Michael Gbinije Jr. 6'7" 200 12.3 4.9 3.4 33.8
Kaleb Joseph Fr. 6'3" 165 7.0 2.5 4.4 29.5
Tyler Roberson So. 6'8" 212 7.0 7.0 1.1 27.0

Since disqualifying itself from the upcoming postseason, Syracuse has won one game and lost another. Its latest victory came Wednesday against the visiting Boston College Eagles, 70-56. Junior swingman Michael Gbinije led all scorers with 21 points, while sophomore point guard Kaleb Joseph netted 14 points and sophomore forward B.J. Johnson came off the bench to make a collegiate-best four 3-pointers en route to a 12-point night.

Oddly, senior center Rakeem Christmas had his worst performance of the season against the Eagles, scoring just seven points and committing five turnovers in the victory. Junior sharpshooter Trevor Cooney, the team's second-best scorer, tallied 15 points in the winning effort. The Orange will need a strong effort from both stars to hang with Duke.

Duke Starters Class Height Weight PPG RPG APG MPG
Quinn Cook Sr. 6'2" 185 14.7 3.3 2.7 35.0
Tyus Jones Fr. 6'1" 190 11.3 3.4 5.3 31.5
Justise Winslow Fr. 6'6" 225 11.3 5.3 1.9 28.0
Jahlil Okafor Fr. 6'11" 270 18.0 9.1 1.4 30.3
Amile Jefferson Jr. 6'9" 215 8.0 6.8 0.9 23.0

The biggest match-up of the night will be Syracuse's Rakeem Christmas versus Duke's Jahlil Okafor, who is tops in the ACC in field goal percentage (66.5%) and offensive rebounding (4.0 per game). Christmas edges Okafor in blocked shots per game (2.38), while both players are tied for second in the league in scoring (18.0 ppg) and have nearly the same rebounding average (about 9.0 per game). Of course, the biggest difference between the two players is that Christmas is a four-year starter, while Okafor is a rookie.

Meanwhile, Duke's floor general is Tyus Jones, whose point and assists averages have led to him accounting for 34.6% of his team's offense. Winslow does a little bit of everything for Duke, as he is averaging 14.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.2 steals over the last five games.

Jefferson is an efficient scorer, as he has missed more than three shot attempts in a game just twice this season, and only seven times in his career. Cook is 39th on the Duke's all-time scorers list and is 29 assists shy of becoming the seventh player in Duke history to register 1,000 career points and 500 career assists.

Category: Syracuse Duke
Record 16-8, 7-4 21-3, 8-3
PPG 69.6 80.3
OPPG 62.4 64.6
FG% 44.1% 49.8%
3PT% 123-389-31.6% 178-471-37.8%
FTA 326-497-65.6% 403-582-69.2%
Rebounds (+/-) (+2.9) (+6.9)
Turnovers 12.1 11.0

In comparing the two teams, Duke has by far the more efficient offense as it ranks eighth in the nation in points per game, fifth in points per possession (1.20) and sixth in field goal percentage (49.8%). The Blue Devils are ranked third in the ACC in 3-point shooting percentage (37.8) and is fourth in rebound margin.

Syracuse's advantage come on the defensive end of the court, as the Orange are fifth in the ACC in scoring defense and field goal percentage defense. Duke is near the middle of the pack or worse in both categories.

Game Time: 6 p.m.

Television: ESPN–Dan Shulman (play-by-play), Jay Bilas (color) and Shannon Spake (sideline).

Radio: Syracuse IMG Radio Network

RPI Rankings: Syracuse–62; Duke–5.

What A Win Means For Syracuse: It gives Syracuse senior Rakeem Christmas something to hang his hat on. Going up against one of the top players in the nation and coming out on top could do a lot for him when it comes to ACC Player of the Year honors.

Meaningless Prediction: Syracuse 80, Duke 79

The home crowd should spark the Orange a bit and if their offense can continue to play well it will have a chance against the Duke team, which struggles to stop anyone. However, if the Blue Devils get hot from the long range it will be tough for the Orange to keep up.

Opponent Date Time TV
Louisville Wed. 2/18 7pm ESPN
Pittsburgh Sat., 2/21 Noon ACCN
At Notre Dame Tues., 2/24 8pm ESPN
At Duke Sat., 2/28 TBA ESPN
Virgina Mon., 3/2 7pm ESPN