The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team (10-5, 3-1) continues its fast ACC road trip in a key matchup against the #11 Virginia Cavaliers (10-3, 2-2). Syracuse is hoping to keep the ACC’s excitement trend alive after #12 Miami and #16 Duke both suffered losses to lower-ranked opponents on Wednesday night.
Tipp-off between Orange and Cavaliers is scheduled for 5 p.m. EST, with the game being televised on ESPN’s ACC network.
Here are our predictions:
Virginia 77, Syracuse 66
Compared to earlier this season, the Orange are better prepared to take on a team like the Cavaliers. However, I have concerns that Syracuse will struggle to score enough points against a Virginia team that has a long history of playing smart, efficient and tough from start to finish. Syracuse’s forward rotation needs open shots and shattering the glass, which wasn’t a guarantee night to night but is a must against a versatile Virginia squad. ‘Cuse has a solid chance to quell the excitement on the road but as always it will be stiff competition between the two programmes.
Virginia 77, Syracuse 72
SU were absolutely devastated when they played a ranked team for the first time this season – but this group of players has grown significantly since then. As difficult as it can be to watch at times, the Orange has won seven out of eight since that Illinois debacle. This is a chance for them to squeeze out some of that old ‘cuse grit against a superior opponent. I don’t think they win but it would at least be an encouraging sign to see it through to the end.
Virginia 64, Syracuse 62
Can the orange stay focused for a full 40 minutes? They can’t afford long absences against this experienced Virginia team. Syracuse have been shooting well in their last two games of 3, and if they’re going to get excited they’ll probably need to be over 40% from deep again. It’s not a bad duel for Orange but I have yet to be convinced that this team is ready to beat a better team on the road.
Virginia 68, Syracuse 58
It may not seem like it, but this Virginia team can actually shoot the ball at a respectable speed. That’s not what you want to hear knowing Tony Bennett’s teams are always strong defensively. As usual, Virginia stands ready to attack Syracuse’s weakest points. The Cavaliers have the best assist-to-turnover ratio in the ACC. Ball movement to find Kihei Clark at the high post, attend to the ball and force turnovers has been the name of Virginia’s game plan against Syracuse for the past few seasons. It has worked with great success and Syracuse doesn’t have enough individual talent to overcome Virginia’s slightly improved offense.
Virginia 71, Syracuse 57
This will be a tough matchup for Syracuse, played at a slow, methodical pace from both ends of the floor. Where Virginia is praised for its defense, offense often gets overlooked because they play so slowly. But I don’t think the Cavaliers will have much trouble dissecting that zone for candid stares and selfless ballplay. While it sure is tough to score against Virginia, Syracuse will lose this game on defense.
Who will win the game between Syracuse and Virginia?
Virginia wins and the Orange Magic really comes to an end
Syracuse wins and Malachi Richardson is forever
0 votes in total