The last ACC team to lose six straight? Why I believe that would be our friends over in Charlottesville when the Virginia Cavaliers lost six in a row on its way to a 7-8 record in 2013. To be fair, they the Hoos played much better competition during that streak than the Heels have played over their last six.
What’s crazy is that this still isn’t a must win for the Heels to get into the ACC Tournament. If UNC beats Syracuse and Notre Dame, and Duke beats Virginia the Heels could be the third seed. If UNC loses to Syracuse this weekend, then it could still secure a spot with a win over Notre Dame.
On the other side, if UNC beats SU, Syracuse will still be the number one seed because of a win over Duke, if it even comes down to a tie-breaker. Here’s what makes me nervous. We have is a Syracuse squad which has the top seed in the ACCT and has probably secured a spot in the NCAA Tournament defending the Dome against a UNC roster which is very hungry for a win and in danger of missing post-season play. This could get interesting.
This is the Chris Cloutier offense, if the Orange can stop him they will win this game. Cloutier is a big ‘ol Canuck who will out muscle defenders. If you didn’t know, he worked at a steel mill during the summers and wants to open a poutinerie. Don’t worry, if you forget you will hear about it at least twice during the broadcast Saturday. Also his roster page has some really special stuff in the “Catching Up with Chris Cloutier” section. Cloutier is another boxla (box lacrosse for all you not in the know) player. He played with Brendan Bomberry in high school and I can’t imagine what that offense was like. The clip below has two of the sickest goals you will ever see, both from that Albany-UNC Tournament game.
At the end of the day, however, this is a squad in a big time slump. Here’s a quick comparison of how many goals the top scorers on this team have scored in the first six games (all wins) and in the last six games (all losses):
Chris Cloutier: 18 goals (first six games), 10 goals (last six games)
Timmy Kelly: 13, 5
Tanner Cook: 14, 1
William Perry: 12, 7
Those are some pretty crazy ratios.
At the faceoff X, an area of concern for Syracuse, UNC has been nothing but inconsistent. Their top FOGO, Charles Kelly went 16 of 28 against Virginia but in the three games before that he only managed to win 11 of 36. I would expect the Syracuse crew to get some traction in this game.
Defensively this group has been, loose. UNC has the worst scoring defense in the ACC and certainly the bottom fourth of the country. The long poles don’t force turnovers and as a whole this team is 47th in the nation in groundballs per game. UNC gave up 14 goals to a 3-7 Furman team and need overtime to beat the Paladins, and the only team that allowed a 5-5 Hofstra more goals than UNC was 4-7 Stony Brook.
In net, Carolina has been all over the map. If their manager was a goalie in high-school, they probably would have played him at some point. I would assume Alex Bassil gets the start but we’ve seen three different goalies play at least 100 minutes each, so we could also see a combination.
While I do believe that this is a Syracuse win, I think it will be closer than it should.
The Syracuse Orange will host the North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday at 4 PM in the Carrier Dome. The game can be seen on ESPNU and heard on TK99/105. Of course you can follow me @Orangelax for updates because this is not a Tuesday game.