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Syracuse students agree: Spring Break isn't as fun as winning a Tournament.
Syracuse limped into the 6 Seed in the ACC Tournament. Syracuse is basically playing for NIT seeding at this point. So will the team show up and compete, or will they have an early exit in Greensboro again?
Syracuse was murdered by UNC 92-79 a couple weeks ago in Syracuse. Now Syracuse can get redemption. But first and foremost, if Syracuse wants to win this game, they MUST DEFEND THREE POINT BASKETS. Syracuse let BC get 19 in their game. Cole Anthony had seven in the Dome. But the real issue was Garrison Brooks earning 25 points against Syracuse. Hughes will be playing the entire game. If Syracuse is able to play decent defense, and make some three point baskets, they'll win. If not, Syracuse will lose again. It's simple. Syracuse must play the best defense of the year to advance to play Louisville, another team that crushed them this season. Either way, there is no evidence, other than at Virginia, Syracuse has demonstrated they can stop big men. This game will be a little closer, but Syracuse will still probably lose by a good amount. UNC over Syracuse by 9.
This game is available on ESPN 2 at 9:00pm*. Both John and I are watching from home, like everyone will be after tonight. Stay safe and stay healthy. GO ORANGE!

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The Orange::44 2020 ACC Tournament Preview

Another trip down to Greensboro for the Orange.
Syracuse took a tough loss on Saturday to end the regular season in overtime. What made it even more brutal was First Team All-ACC and conference leading scorer Elijah Hughes was sitting on the bench the entire second half. While it seems unlikey this season that Syracuse advances far enough to make the NCAA Tournament, they are still playing to keep playing in the postseason. Plus, conference tournaments are always a blast. John and I try our hands in trying to predict how the ACC Tournament will go. We both have Louisville hoisting the trophy, but we have very different winners before the Championship. Click below to enjoy (apologies for mine not being handwritten, but I wanted it to be in color, and my office doesn't have a color printer like Johnny McCounty below).

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Syracuse - Miami Preview

Syracuse students agree: Winning the last regular season game would be nice.
Syracuse did their job at Boston College on Tuesday. But now Syracuse has a chance to get another win before heading to Greensboro in the ACC Tournament. Seeding and potential friendly matchups are also on the line in this one. Can Syracuse get it done in Miami?
Syracuse has another favorable matchup in this one, with Miami playing without a dominant big man, and not shooting the long ball well. Miami's best player is Chris Lykes, who averages 15.2 points a game. The good news is he only makes 37.4% from behind the arc, so it's likely if he gets hot, it will be because he's able to get to the basket. Miami isn't a particularly tall team, and Lykes is only 5-foot-7, meaning either Sidibe, Dolezaj, or Guerrier should be able to cover him in the paint well. Miami also isn't particularly good at earning rebounds, so we should see a bit of a repeat of Sidibe in his last few games. He should be able to get rebounds and easy put backs for some quick points for Syracuse. Hughes was red hot against BC, and he was red hot against Miami last season, dropping 22 on the 'Canes. Expect him to have another good game, like he had against Boston College. He was virtually unguardable, and with Miami being a smaller team, Hughes should find success all over the floor. This is a 1 point spread, but I see Syracuse earning a convincing victory in their last regular season game of the year. Syracuse over Miami by 13.
This game is available on The ACC Network at 4:00pm. John and I will be watching in the home office. Enjoy the game after a convincing lax win, and GO ORANGE!

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Syracuse - Boston College Preview

Syracuse students agree: If Syracuse can't beat BC, we should just end the season.
Syracuse blew it against UNC last Saturday. But the good news is Syracuse takes on Boston College, the team Syracuse absolutely crushed earlier in the year. BC, the cure for what ails you.
The Eagles are still one of the worst shooting teams in the league, only making 30.1% from long range. They are also one of the worst defensive teams in the league. Just like the last game. Jay Heath is the best shooter on BC. If anyone is getting hot from long range, it's Heath. However, that's still fairly unlikely. He's only scoring 12.9 points a game and shooting 37% from three. Yes, that is the leading scorer for Boston College. BC also has no real inside scoring threat. I don't believe BC even attempted a hot inside the arc for the first eight minutes of the game in Syracuse. This game, while closer due to the fact they are at home and won't miss everything they missed in Syracuse, should still be heavily in Syracuse's favor. Look for Boeheim to contribute, as he lit up the Eagles in the lat meeting. Obviously Hughes will Add points. But Sidibe contributing on offense his been the real X Factor lately. Syracuse should be able to score against the Eagles, while limiting their opportunities. Syracuse has been one of the most efficient teams in the fast break, and BC doesn't have a good defense. O0range over the Boston College Eagles by 16.
This game is available on ESPN 2 at 7:00pm. I'll be in the Conte Forum not in Boston, while John will be in the home office. I'll see you out there. GO ORANGE!

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Syracuse - Pittsburgh Preview

Syracuse students agree: Just win baby.
Syracuse earned a nice comeback win against GTech on Saturday. Despite not leading for the majority of the game, Syracuse was able to pull ahead and get a nice lead to sweep GTech for the season. Now Syracuse has the chance to sweep another ACC foe in Pittsburgh.
Syracuse dominated the first half against Pittsburgh when they first played in Syracuse, only for the game to get tighter in the 2nd as Syracuse basically hung on for a win. Pittsburgh wasn't able to make jumpers in the first half, or get int he paint. But then Syracuse's offense stalled in the 2nd half, and Pittsburgh made the game tighter despite never gaining the lead. Syracuse will look to finish off Pittsburgh early on their home court. Justin Chamgagnie was the leading scorer and rebounder for Pitt in that game, and he leads the team in both. However, Pittsburgh is dreadful at 3 point field goal % at 29.2, as well as raking 342nd in the nation in offensive rebounding. That's a formula for Syracuse to win again. Pittsburgh coughs up the ball and they don't score a ton, nor do they get many 2nd chance points. If Syracuse is able to keep Sidibe and/or Dolezaj in the game, this one may not be a crushing like Boston College earlier in the season was, but it will certainly be more easy going than GTech was. Guerrier lead in rebounding for Syracuse in the last game, and I look for him to do damage on the boards in this one. Girard made some ill advised shots in the last game, and he's certainly stopped just bombing shots in the last few games. While Boeheim isn't shooting as much as he was earlier in the year, Syracuse should have plenty of opportunity to get transition buckets, including those from long range. Despite being in The Pete, they don't seem to have the home court advantage they are used to, as they have obviously not won too many games period. I think this is tighter than SU fans would want, but it still won't be too nerve racking. SU over Pitt by 9.
This game is available on The ACC Network at 7:00pm. Both John and I will be watching. GO ORANGE!

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Syracuse - Georgia Tech Preview

Syracuse Students agree: A win would help the NIT resume
I've written two other previews this season. Both were Tech schools, one was Georgia Tech, and Syracuse shocked everybody with a win down in Atlanta in December. Going into that game, Syracuse was on a bit of a skid, having lost two games in Brooklyn and one at home. Today, Syracuse goes into this game also having lost three straight. The picture was doom & gloom before that December 7 game, and the picture is doom & gloom before this February 22 game. So, is Georgia Tech once again a sight for sore eyes?

The Yellow Jackets have fared similarly to Syracuse this season, sitting at a 13-13 record overall, 7-8 in ACC play. That currently ties them with Clemson, Notre Dame, and Syracuse for 6th in the ACC. So if nothing else, today's game will factor into tournament seeding and potential tie-breakers. Like before, GT's main scoring threat is Michael Devoe, averaging 16.3 ppg. Jose Alvarado and Moses Wright both average in double digit scoring, while James Banks III is just a shade under ten. Their guards -- especially Devoe -- can score 3s, but unless someone just gets a hot hand (which tends to happen against Syracuse) I think Syracuse can just play a good zone and try to limit scoring. Banks & Wright both rebound quite well, so Syracuse would be wise to BOX OUT on them to create second chance points or prevent Georgia Tech from their own second chance points.

By now you know what there is to know about Syracuse. Elijah Hughes is the leading scorer and will likely get you 15-20 points. Buddy Boeheim & Joe Girard can both be prolific scorers, but they can both disappear too. Marek Dolezaj will probably score in double digits, grab a bunch of rebounds, and create havoc for the Yellow Jackets, but if he gets in foul trouble or fouls out, you might as well count out the Orange. Marek is my favorite -- he plays with so much heart, so much intensity, but he's also really smart about basketball. He understands the game -- it transcends language. But he's the victim of an officiating movement that calls fouls on virtually any contact, and I can't imagine that's the intent of the rules. But I'll get off my soapbox now.

Even though Syracuse has been on a skid, the only ugly loss was at Louisville on Wednesday night. The others were close -- and Syracuse was in them almost to the end. So what we see is a Syracuse team who can certainly go into its second to last game under this Carrier Dome roof and dominate a team like Georgia Tech. And today, that's what I see happening: Syracuse by nine.

This game tips at 4:00pm EST and is available on the Regional Sports Network (YES in the NY area, otherwise check here). I'll be in the Dome, and Brian might get to catch some on TV. Enjoy, and GO ORANGE!

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Syracuse - Louisville Preview

Syracuse students agree: Do or die.
Syracuse let another close one slip through their fingers at FSU. Now Syracuse heads to The 'Ville to take on the #11 team in the nation in one of the toughest arenas in the nation. Can Syracuse pull a big upset and stay in the hunt for an elusive NCAA birth?
Syracuse heads into this game off a loss to FSU. However, Louisville is coming off back to back losses of their own. A loss to GTech, and a baffling loss to Clemson. Unfortunately for the Orange, it's unlikely the Cards are going to have another bad game in a row. Syracuse desperately needs Buddy Boeheim to bust out of his funk as well. Despite massive scoring efforts from Joe Girard, and Elijah Hughes when he was on the floor and not out due to injury, Syracuse couldn't beat FSU or NC State in their last outings. Buddy Boeheim didn't contribute. And despite being in both games late, they couldn't get a bucket to ice the game. Syracuse now faces Louisville, a team they beat by 20 last season. Jordan Nwora again leads the Cards, with 18.2ppg right now. He's neck and neck with Hughes in the ACC scoring lead. Louisville is very good at shooting, hitting 40.7% from behind the arc. The good news is their big man is only 6'10" and should be easier to handle than FSU was. That being said, Syracuse will have to really guard the three point line. If they don't this will be over quick. If Boeheim again adds a zero to the scoring, this will be over before the last four minutes. Either way, while I think Boeheim does come back and add some scoring after two really bad games, the Cards will be too much to handle for Syracuse. I'm taking Louisville by seven.
This game is available on ESPN at 7:00pm. John is on vacation and may or may not be watching this at a bar. I'm in the home office. Enjoy, try not to say too many Boeheim Hot Takes, and GO ORANGE!

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Syracuse - Florida State Preview

Syracuse students agree: Now we're in a must win game.
Syracuse had some rotten luck taking on NC State when Elijah Hughes had a groin injury and was unable to play. Joe Girard responded by scoring 30 points, but it wasn't enough to overcome a mediocre team at home. Now Syracuse has a chance to respond by picking up a win against #8 Florida State on the road.
Syracuse faces a tough task taking on Florida State, a team with three players that average over ten points a game. Devin Vassell leads the team in scoring and rebounding. FSU is the tallest team in the nation, lead the nation in blocked shots, and are top ten in steals. Syracuse has been relying on scoring in the paint and getting good buckets off offensive rebounds. That likely will be much more difficult today. Which means Syracuse must make three point buckets if it wants to win. Boeheim must do better than one made three in the game. Girard was able to find success in going to the basket against NC State, but that likely won't happen today. Additionally, Boeheim can't make turnovers like he did. While Hughes is likely to play today after a pretty good week of rest, if Boeheim doesn't add meaningful minutes by making baskets and not coughing up the ball, Syracuse is sunk. Syracuse will need to hit a good number of threes to stay in the game or win. While John has a good feeling about this game, and Syracuse seems to score more on the road than at home, there's literally nothing that would lead me to believe Syracuse can pull off this upset today. FSU over the Orange by 9.
This game is available on ESPN 2 at 12:00pm. Both John and I are watching on our televisions. Here's hoping for a big upset win. GO ORANGE!

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