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Syracuse - Maryland Preview

Syracuse students agree: Now a win would REALLY be nice.
What a rough week for Syracuse. Although I've addressed my issues with the Duke game here, Syracuse deserved to lose the BC game. They just didn't have it. That's fine. I can live with that. Either way, Syracuse had the o-fer last week so they need to step it up tonight.
Syracuse takes on a Maryland team that he heading for "greener pastures" in the Big "Ten". Maryland isn't that great of a team on paper, but they have been really good at home. They are 5-1 in ACC play at home and 10-3 at home overall. They are a tough group to play. Syracuse has obviously played up and down on the road, but really it comes down to who shows up. Both Trevor Cooney and Tyler Ennis were essentially non-factors against Duke, and really in the last couple of games (both losses). One of them has to contribute. CJ Fair even had a middle of the road game at Duke and it was Grant that was really the only one carrying the load, hitting pretty spectacular shots in the lane again and again. Couple that with either of the big men missing bunnies after pulling down tons of offensive rebounds and you get a recipe for disaster. Either Cooney hits some shots tonight, Ennis drives more, or both. But if one doesn't manage to step up, in combination with CJ and Grant, then the game is done. Maryland, like Duke, has a few players that can hit outside shots, so people making shots for Syracuse is a must. The defense will again do their part and show up, but you still have to have more on the scoreboard than your opponent at the end of the night. Foul trouble wasn't the biggest problem at Duke but Syracuse has to be mindful because in a tight game you can't rely on Keita to get offensive production. Only defense. Either way, if Cooney is hitting shots, Syracuse should win. Same with Ennis driving the basket or making good passes. If not, Syracuse will come up short again. I think they do recover and thrive in the loud atmosphere that will be going on in College Park. I'll take the Orange by 13.
This game is available nationally on ESPN / Watch ESPN at 7:00pm. Both John and I will again be around. Hopefully things will go better this evening. Again, if you missed my Duke recap check it out with the link above.

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Not sure I could take off and put on a suit coat as quick as Jimmy.
The highly anticipated rematch happened. Yes, Syracuse was still #1 but they had lost on Wednesday so we knew Syracuse wasn't going to stay there. And Syracuse lost to Duke. Now 1-1 on the season, most of the game was great to watch. The end stunk for a lot of reasons. We'll get to that. But meanwhile, Duke beat Syracuse 66-60. Officially at least.
  • Jeremi Grant was the leading scorer for the Orange. He was 8-15 for 17 points and 8 rebounds. Unfortunately he was only 1-4 on free throws. However he had a few big time plays, including a couple spin moves in the lane. A good game overall.
  • CJ Fair was the only other Syracuse player in double digit scoring. He finished with 12 on 6-12 shooting and added 7 rebounds. He also led the team with 4 turnovers.
  • Trevor Cooney was 1-5 on the day and 0-3 from behind the arc. You aren't having a good day with those numbers. He was pretty well covered most of the game, but still he missed open looks he had all day.
  • Rakeem Christmas was 3-6 on the day with 6 points. The three his missed were point blank bunnies. So frustrating.
  • Tyler Ennis also didn't have the best night with 9 points on 2-13 shooting. He did earn 5-6 from the free throw line. Otherwise he had 6 assists to only 2 turnovers, and 4 steals with a block.
  • Baye-Moussa Keita played 20 minutes off the bench and went 2-6, also missing a few bunnies. He finished with 4 points but he did collect 9 rebounds. A solid defensive night, but not so much for offense, but what else is new.
  • Let's get to it. I think the officiating for the most part was good all night. No way did I think there was an intentional foul committed by Duke early in the game. However Jaime Luckie who called it called a tight game from the start, even if his co-workers didn't. So that's fine. Consistent from start to finish is fine. Roger Ayers was the one that called the block on Michael Gbinije. Clearly feet planted. You can see it in the Vine below. But that's a call that is pretty quick, and I'd rather the officials air on the side of block over charge, as I've stated for the past few years. Right on p. 7 of the rulebook for "Major Officiating Concerns" is block/charge calls. I know these guys do pretty extensive film study. I'm a little more forgiving of Roger because it was called a block, even though it pretty clearly shows Gbinije set. But obviously we're here to talk about Tony Greene's call of a charge on CJ Fair. CJ starts his motion up, the defender isn't set, and then contact and CJ makes the basket. It should probably be called a block, but even if you don't think that's the case it should have been a no call then. You can see Greene is actually a bit screened from seeing the point of contact due to CJ's body in the way and he's walking away from the play at the time. But the defender's feet are never really set. They are still shuffling before and during the contact. And on the baseline angle he's actually moving into CJ. It's the critical point in the game. Most officials would have no called that unless it was pretty severe contact. You can judge for yourself with the Vine here. The rule book defines legal guarding position below.
  • It was only due to the bad call that Jim Boeheim goes apeshit. Then he got the technical fouls. But chances are, after the charge call, Syracuse wasn't winning so I don't think Boeheim hurt the team's chances in the least. After the call Duke now had the ball, the lead, and the clock on their side. It was probably over unless some magical 3s happen and/or Duke misses free throws. Both were unlikely in the game. But hey, it got is some awesome .gifs and some great memes of Boeheim.
  • I'll also say that I don't think Boeheim should have been tossed. Could he be tossed for what he did? Yes. But should he have been. As a 3 sport official, my gut in that situation is hit him with the one technical and then let him vent. After you bang him for the one and you head to the scorer's table to report it you have one of the other officials walk him back to the bench. This was the most critical play in a top 5 game. Even if you're Greene and think you got that call perfectly right you have to understand that that essentially seals the game for Duke so of course Jim is going to be mad. You give him the one Tech for coming off the sideline, let him vent, have your partner walk him back. That should have been it. It seems like Boeheim is just yelling "bullshit" a lot. You'll have to expect that and let that slide at the D1 level. But unless Boeheim gets personal I don't think you toss him in that situation. But, I can't really fault Greene for tossing him with that kind of fury in your face. Like I said though, you're a veteran official and you essentially just decided the game. You need to expect that and give respect to the coach and let him vent after you give him the one Tech, which could have easily sufficed.
Now Syracuse has to face Maryland, a team that could do some damage against Syracuse, and will have a packed house. Unfortunately for Maryland, both Syracuse and their fans are hungry and angry for another win. Good luck Terps, before you go establish that yearly rivalry game in the Big Ten with Rutgers.

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Syracuse - Duke Preview

Syracuse students agree: Not losing two in a row would be a plus.
25-1 is the record Syracuse now possesses. Most teams would kill for that record. It certainly isn't the end of the world that Syracuse lost on Wednesday. Frankly it also wouldn't be if Syracuse loses tonight. But we'd all prefer to not have that happen.
Syracuse makes its first trip to Durham in a very long time. But really, this game breaks down very simple. If Syracuse struggles on converting baskets in trips down the floor they will probably lose. If Syracuse allows Jabari Parker to get loose in the paint Syracuse will probably lose. If Duke shoots and makes a boatload of 3's like they did in the Dome Syracuse will probably lose. It's simple. Syracuse needs to again have a virtually perfect game on offense or cause some major problems on Defense for Syracuse to have a chance in this game. Syracuse's offense has been a joke the last few games, shooting in the 30's for field goal percentage. Syracuse has also struggled at the free throw line as of late. If CJ Fair or Tyler Ennis are really cold from the floor, or Christmas keeps missing bunnies, Syracuse is going to have a real problem ending up on the right side of the scoreboard. Both of these teams are struggling as of late, with Duke losing at UNC on Thursday, and obviously Syracuse losing their first game of the year to BC on Wednesday. But Duke possesses enough talent that even if the Syracuse defense is active and somehow limits Duke to only 70 or so points, if the Syracuse offense isn't also playing at a high level this game could get embarrassing. While the ACC race won't be decided today (that will probably have to wait for SU's trip to Virginia), it would be nice to be only the fourth ACC team to sweep Duke in a season in a very long time. Sadly, nothing about the Syracuse offense, other than the fact they are actually pretty efficient despite teams using almost all of the shot clock on every trip, convinces me that they will win this game today. I'm taking the Blue Devil's and their smarmy fans over the Orange by nine.

This game is available nationally on ESPN / Watch ESPN at 7:00pm. Both John and I will be Tweeting away all game so join in as you usually do. We'll be back in short order with recaps and other stuff. Maybe we'll get to lacrosse, but after today I don't even want to touch that for a while either. Enjoy the game. 

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Boston College - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: This should be easier since this game is at home.
Syracuse was the underdog in Chestnut Hill for a good part of the second half, until another solid stretch run gave Syracuse the lead. A few Cooney dunks helped, and Syracuse banished the Eagles. Now they look for the upset in the Carrier Dome to save their season (although that still wouldn't probably get them in). But I'd like it to not be Boston College that finally beats Syracuse.
Lonnie Jackson was 6-9 from behind the arc for Boston College, quite the exception to the rule of Boston College only averaging 7.6ppg. The real key stat from the previous game was Boston College having 16 turnovers, 13 of which were steals. Syracuse had their offense stall at BC, and really the major offense from the Eagles came from behind the arc, that gave them the lead and kept them in the game late. Once Syracuse took control down the stretch it was all she wrote for the Eagles. I think this game goes about the same from what we see from the Eagles, but I think Syracuse plays much better offensively. After a few days rest I think CJ will be ready to go and back to his old clutch mid-range self. Same with Ennis who made some total Freshman plays against NC State on Saturday. Baye-Moussa Keita should be back in the lineup tonight and rebounding like he did before he missed a couple games. But I think Christmas still makes some nice post plays and also has a bunch of key blocks. I like the Orange to build a lead in the second half an have this one not be a squeaker like the last couple. I like the home team in the retro jerseys by 18.
This game is available nationwide on ESPN 2 / Watch ESPN at 7:00pm. John is making fun of BC in person, while I'm holding down the internets. Should be a fun one as my new hometown takes on the Alma mater. Always root for the Alma mater.

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North Carolina State v. Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: No matter the start time of the game, we'll be ready.
Syracuse gets a bit of a delay to today's game as NC State had some trouble arriving due to the storm down south. It's all well and good as Syracuse will be ready. But after that Pittsburgh ending, will this game even be fun to watch?

The Orange come in undefeated still at 24-0 as NC State come in 6-5 in the ACC. Baye-Moussa Keita may or may not play but after only light practicing I think he will probably sit this one out. And that will probably be fine as NC State is not a team that bangs too much on the boards. NCSt ranks 14th in the ACC in defensive rebounding. That means that even without Keita, Syracuse should have the rebounding edge in this game. Also, unfortunately for the Wolfpack, they aren't very good at three point baskets so it is unlikely they will be shooting much over the zone. They only shoot 30% from outside as a team, and only one player is shooing more than 30%. Ralson Turner is the only legitimate outside threat on the team, hitting 38.5%. As long as the guards and forwards rotate on him and are tight on the defense, he shouldn't spring loose, forcing NCSt to get the job done inside, which means a collapsing defense on TJ Warren, the clear standout offensive player for them. However, I think this game will favor the Orange in terms of points in the paint and transition buckets. Syracuse should get several blocks and steals in this game, as well as several runouts and should be in steady control most of the second half. I'll take the Orange by 16.

This game is available in various ACC markets via the ACC Network beginning at 7:00pm. You can check if the game will be on your television here. If you don't have television coverage you can check it out on Watch ESPN (blackout map here). However, everyone, no matter their location or ESPN blackout, can view the game on the ACC Website here. Either way, you're covered. I'll see you on the Tweets.

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Syracuse - Pittsburgh Preview

Syracuse students agree: Beating Pitt at the Pete is pretty sweet.
The Orange make the familiar trip down to Pittsburgh to take on the Panthers at the Pete. This is probably the first game of the season where I don't think Syracuse is the clear pick to win. Pitt played Syracuse very tough in the Dome and Syracuse only won by five. Can Syracuse escape the Pete, where top teams go to lose and fall in the polls?
To start, both teams are banged up. This isn't really surprising at this point in the college basketball season, but it is important. Keita tweaked his knee in Sunday's game versus Clemson. He hasn't practiced this week, but did make the trip down to Pittsburgh. It seems unlikely he'll see the floor though if he hasn't practiced Monday or Tuesday. For Pittsburgh, Lamar Patterson has been injured lately. Although it is said he is ready to go tonight, even if he does play I'm not sure how many points he'll be able to score or how effective he'll be in the game. Pittsburgh needs to generate offense and missing Patterson is definitely a blow to that cause. Similarly, missing Keita not only removes a possible five fouls from the game, but more importantly it removes probable rebounds from Syracuse's stat lines. And rebounding will be an issue. Syracuse was outrebounded by Pittsburgh in their game in the Dome, and Pitt grabbed 11 more than Syracuse. That gave them a big advantage in second chance points, keeping Pittsburgh in the game. Syracuse played pretty good defense in the game, holding Pittsburgh to only 38.3% from the floor. But when you just have to tip a ball back in, that's a pretty easy two points. Basically, if Syracuse stays close to Pittsburgh in rebounding, Syracuse can probably stay ahead on the scoreboard. If Pittsburgh keeps rebounding more than Syracuse, it will be a very close score and an uphill climb for the Orange. Look for Ennis and Fair to take over the end of this game. Fair has always played well in/against Pittsburgh, and Ennis is a cool customer at the end of games, as he was against Pitt earlier this season. I've picked the Orange to win all of there games, but today I'm going to go with history and the odds. While Syracuse could beat Pittsburgh tonight, and if anyone can in The Pete it would be #1 Syracuse (who was the first team to win in that building), I'll take the Panthers by 3.
This game is live tonight on ESPN / Watch ESPN at 7:00pm. John and I are both watching from our prospective homes so we'll be all over the internets tonight. Syracuse / Pitt games are sometimes very frustrating to watch but they are always highly and toughly contested. Win or lose, this should be another fun one, but definitely a grinder.

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Notre Dame and Clemson Recaps OR Catching Up

"Don't play defense like a praying mantis!"

Hey folks. Brian and I have both been pretty busy the past few weeks with work and whatnot (being a lawdog isn't all fun & games), so we've gotten a little behind in blog updates. Brian's done a good job at least posting game previews, and he just got the Duke recap up -- which means I can move on to the dirty stuff: recapping the Notre Dame game and the Clemson game, both of which I had the "pleasure" of attending.

Notre Dame
I'll be honest: I was telling people all day last Monday that Syracuse would lose this game. The Fighting Irish had been such an up-and-down team this season -- much like North Carolina -- that I figured they certainly had the talent and ability to win. Combine that with Syracuse having a quick turnaround from the overtime win against Duke the Saturday before, and it all just seemed to make sense to me. Of course, I also kept telling people that I'm wrong all the time, and hoped this was one of those times. Ancient history now, but without Trevor Cooney, I would've been spot on with this prediction. Instead, Cooney scored 57% of Syracuse's points, including tying the Orange all-time record nine made three point baskets in a game. Syracuse beat Notre Dame in this one 61-55.

  • I think the last time Trevor Cooney got any sort of props from this blog was before ACC play began. So, way back in 2013. Man, those were the days, right? Anyway, Cooney comes out sneaky, trying to lull the Irish into complacency by missing his first attempted three. Then, he skipped NBA Jam's "Heating Up" and went directly to Dan Patrick's "en fuego." Here's the line: 39 minutes (team high), 33 points (team high), 11-15 from the field including 9-12 from three, a couple made foul shots, and even four steals to throw in some nice defense.
  • While Cooney provided the scoring, the wasn't setting up the threes all by himself; Syracuse had 16 assists in this game, with eight of them coming from Tyler Ennis. Great ball movement and running of plays allowed Cooney to find an open spot, catch a pass, and put it up.
  • Cooney was asked after the game if he feared his production would go down now that teams know they should probably cover him more. Being a good teammate, Trevor rightly pointed out that more attention on him leaves another player or players open, so whatever helps the team is fine with him.
  • While the Irish didn't play a terrible game, and their strategy to try to slow things down limited Syracuse scoring opportunities, they just couldn't find an answer to Cooney. This, despite shooting a respectable 40.8% from the field and 33.3% from three, and having Garrick Sherman, Steve Vasturia, and Pat Connaughton in double digit scoring.
  • The Cooney effort also helped Syracuse hide a not so good night on the boards, being out-rebounded by Notre Dame 33-28.
Clemson
Whether it was physical exhaustion, mental exhaustion, or both, Syracuse needed a Monday-to-Sunday layoff between these games. Not that the Tigers are going to out-physical anyone, but with the top defense in the conference, Syracuse had to have its legs under it to be able to score when it had its limited opportunities. That worked out fine for Syracuse, who saw another great night from its senior leader CJ Fair, who led the team to a 57-44 victory over Clemson.
  • CJ wins BMOC honors for his 19-point effort on Sunday night. Boeheim called it a very efficient game for CJ, particularly in the first half. Fair was 8-13 on the night, including one from deep, and grabbing seven rebounds in 39 minutes of play.
  • Jerami Grant was able to put points on the board (12) despite struggling from the field (5-12). His trademark highlight of the game came not on a slam, but on the Orange's first field goal of the game, as Grant got turned around, chucked the ball up behind him, and it dropped in the basket. Pretty, for sure.
  • Trevor Cooney couldn't replicate the career game he had last Monday (and nobody expected him to) but he still scored 11 points, including 3-7 from three. He also continued his activity at the top of the zone, taking three steals.
  • I'll go back to Grant for this stat: eight rebounds. This is in part because of a new role he had in this game: center of the zone. This was due in large part to Rakeem Christmas being in foul trouble, and Baye Moussa Keita coming out with a knee injury in the first half and not returning. In a position already thin with DaJuan Coleman out for the rest of the season with his own injury, Syracuse had to be a little creative. This led to Tyler Roberson getting some minutes (seven). Keita is day to day, currently undecided for the Pitt game on Wednesday, so we'll have to see how things shake out. But for purposes of this Clemson game, the adjustments made by Syracuse kept them in a position to win.
  • In what seemed like a very slowly-paced game, Clemson wasn't able to capitalize on its offensive opportunities when wearing down the shot clock, and wasn't able to "shut it down" on defense to limit Orange scoring. The Tigers shot a sad 34.1% for the game, making only 14 field goals. You're usually not gonna see a team win with putrid numbers like that.
  • Syracuse did not win by 24 points.
With these two wins, Syracuse is off to a 23-0 start, and a 10-0 start in the conference for the first time in school history. For those keeping track at home, that's also Syracuse's best start in ACC history (1 year). It's kind of hard to believe that we're still in the first half of February and Syracuse is down to its last three home games, but that's where we are. But before we get to home games, Wednesday night's showdown at the Pete against Pittsburgh looms. Pitt's in a bit of a slide recently, but they always play tough at home, and Syracuse historically hasn't played well there. But this is now, and now is what matters. Let's see what happens.

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Clemson - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: Basketball season won't be as kind to Clemson as football.
The Orange are still undefeated. After playing a big stretch of games they have had five days off and now are well rested to take on Clemson at home. The Tigers may have owned the Dome in October, but February is our time.
Clemson is one of those sneaky teams. They will generally lose to better teams, but they surprised Duke (who we know is very good) earlier this year. But what Clemson doesn't do well is what teams need to do to beat zone defenses. Clemson doesn't shoot the three very well. They are 11th in the ACC and only average 4.8 a game. They average 31.2% from three, which isn't great. Additionally Clemson is last in the ACC in assists, meaning there aren't that many interior passes in the paint or to the baseline. It will be mostly drives and drive and kicks. And considering they don't hit many 3's I'm not exactly sure how driving and kicks will help. KJ McDaniels is Clemson's best player, earning 16.3ppg and leads his team in almost every important statistical category. If Syracuse shuts him down, chances are Clemson will be down in a hurry. Clemson doesn't score very many points as it is, and Syracuse only allows 59.1ppg. Unless Syracuse has a dreadful offensive outing this game shouldn't be close. I'm taking the Orange by 24, in a rare blowout game for the Orange this conference season.
This game is available nationwide on ESPN U / Watch ESPN at 6:00pm. John will be in the Dome and I'll be in the home office. This one could either be fun or boring. We're hoping for the former as the #1 team plays their last game of the week to make sure they are #1 on Monday afternoon.

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It was definitely one of the best games in the Dome.
After all the buildup, the anticipation, and the crowd counting, the game actually managed to deliver. A feat that doesn't often happen. No team ever had a lead bigger than a few points, really. And the game went to overtime as teams traded knockout blows. But Syracuse ended up on top 91 to 89 in overtime.

  • Player of the game was CJ Fair with a career high 28 points on 12-20 shooting, adding 5 rebounds and two blocks. He played all 45 minutes of the game. He was pretty spectacular in the game.
  • Jerami Grant had an almost equally impressive game with 24 points. He was 7-11 from the floor and made 10-10 free throws. He also added 12 rebounds and some big slams.
  • Tyler Ennis didn't have many offensive moments in this game, only going 3-5 from the floor. But like always, they were spectacular drives down the lane. He was 8-8 from the line however and had 12 assists playing 40 minutes.
  • Rakeem Christmas also wasn't an offensive powrehouse, only making 2-4. But he did earn 10 rebounds and six blocks, including the block that sealed the game for Syracuse. He's needs to get better with short shots around the rim however.
  • Trevor Cooney also didn't have the biggest output. He saved that for Notre Dame. But he did play very well, scoring 5-8, 2-2 from long range, 2-2 on free throws.  He finished with 14 points and played some solid defense on the day.
  • Baye-Moussa Keita also missed some bunnies, but he did pull down 6 big rebounds.
  • Syracuse led in two big categories on the stat sheet. First, they led Duke in rebounding 38-33. They also led in blocks 9-0. Syracuse's defense was really solid on the day (perhaps I should qualify inside the arc). Syracuse's offense might have been even better however. Despite the fact that Duke hit 15 three point baskets, Syracuse still managed to have enough offense to overcome that.
  • Overall I was pretty satisfied with the officiating in this game. However, there should have been an intentional call late in regulation with the foul against CJ Fair, basically knocking him out of bounds. It should have been two shots and the ball for Syracuse. The Christmas no call on the block I think was a call that was a good no call. I'm not saying that as a Syracuse fan. I'm saying that as an observer of college basketball who knows that that little of contact, especially in overtime, won't get called in any game, let alone the biggest regular season game of the year so far.
  • Both teams only had eight turnovers. Usually anything under ten is a victory.
This game was probably the best regular season game I've ever seen in person in the Dome. And I've been to the last few "record breaking games" and every game in the Dome in the '02-'03 season, including the Pitt Triple Court Rush game. I've seen some crazy endings, and big time shots. This, to me, was the best I've seen. Syracuse now has the school record for starting the season undefeated. Thanks to Arizona they are also #1 and one of the last two unbeaten teams in the nation. I'll be back shortly with my Clemson Preview and Orange::44 will be back with regular postgame coverage back on a regular schedule.

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Notre Dame - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: The new #1 wants to avoid a quick let down.
If you watched Duke take on Syracuse on Saturday you saw a fantastic college basketball game. Maybe the best of the season. If you were there, you had an even bigger treat. But now that the Duke game has ended, and the pollsters have crowned Syracuse the new #1 team in the nation, they have a quick turnaround and are playing on Big Monday against Notre Dame, coming into the Dome as one of the more unpredictable teams of the ACC.
Syracuse hosts the traveling Irish in a big contest, not for anything Syracuse could gain from beating up and down ND, but rather what they can lose. That is always the problem with being #1 during the year. But anyway, Syracuse is facing a team that isn't quite as offensively gifted as Duke, despite the fact that Notre Dame beat them as well. Notre Dame, when they lack the power of a truly great big man in the paint, only has one way to beat Syracuse. That is, of course, shooting a bunch of 3s over the zone. They will probably run a couple back door cuts, but other than that it will mostly be drives and kicks. I maintain that Mike Brey is still not a great X and O guy and the only times he's managed to beat Syracuse is when he had either equal or superior talent on his side of the court. That is not the case in this game. Notre Dame's best player is Garrick Sherman, a transfer from Michigan State who averages 14.5ppg. Oddly, Notre Dame is only averaging 6.6 made three point baskets in ACC play. So if they are looking to beat Syracuse by making a bunch of 3s, they better make more. Duke made 15 and still lost. I think Christmas and Grant will be the ones doing most of the damage in this game. I think they will get looks like they did in the Duke game after Parker fouled out and just continue to hammer inside the paint. I like Ennis to get a bunch of assists in this one, maybe even get a double-double because of it. Notre Dame is also coming off an overtime win, but they did that on the road and then traveled to Syracuse right after. Meanwhile, Syracuse got to sleep in their beds the last couple of nights. I think those stats are overvalued, but they are worth noting. What is more germane is the fact that Notre Dame is 0-5 on the road this year and 0-10 overall against #1 teams on the road. Syracuse has also beaten Notre Dame in nine of their last 11 trips to the Carrier Dome, and by an average of 15.6ppg. I like the Orange to actually get a comfortable lead in this game and give some of the starters a breather in the second half. I'll take the Orange to avoid the let down by 22.
The game tonight will be on ESPN / Watch ESPN at 7:00pm. John will be at the game and I'll be in the home office so stay tuned as you normally would. I'll be back later this week with a complete Duke wrap up, and John will tell you how this Notre Dame affair will go. Either way, we'll be on a more regular posting schedule in the near future.

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Duke - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: We must win today.
It's here. Finally. No more anticipation. Duke will be playing Syracuse in the Carrier Dome tonight. Let's just get right to it.
Syracuse enters this game still undefeated. Since Duke surprising lost to Clemson they have rattled off five impressive wins, most recently beating Pittsburgh by 15 at the Pete. This game will not be easy for Syracuse as Duke can shoot the three. Key matchups today will be Syracuse perimeter defense versus Duke and rebounding effort of each team. Yes, it is important that Cooney actually make a few shots today, and CJ Fair much show why he was ACC Preseason POY. But whichever team defends the three point line the best, as well as rebounds will win this game. Both teams will score. Syracuse had a pretty dreadful offensive outing at Wake but their defense kept them afloat and then they started making baskets again. However the Orange have not had back to back games where they have shot that poorly. Syracuse's offense and the Duke offense will be ready. Additionally Syracuse is at home which will help. Really, the Syracuse defense has been fantastic this year. I think it will be the defense that keeps Duke from taking the lead in this game. While Duke will inevitably make a few three pointers to keep the game close. I think Syracuse will take the lead in the second half and have a slim lead most of the second half. The game will be loud and if Syracuse is scoring in transition the game will be over. But I think it will come down to Ennis driving the lane and making a layup that will ensure Syracuse the victory. Cooney should hit three big threes in this game with his feet set and the Dome will erupt. As soon as Grant hits his ridiculous slam the Dome will erupt. I think Keita and Christmas continue their great rebounding as well. I'm taking Syracuse in this game by 6.
This game is tonight at 6:30pm on ESPN / Watch ESPN. Both John and I will be in the Dome tonight with what I can only assume to be spotty wireless coverage at best. Enjoy the spectacle that is tonight's game. College basketball fans everywhere should enjoy this one. If we win we'll both be drunk tweeting like mad so just be prepared for allllllll that. #BeatDuke. Go Orange!

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