|Syracuse students agree: Snow can be a major headache!|
As of the writing of this post, the Syracuse team charter has just landed in Charlottesville, so I'm pretty confident that the game will actually be played tonight. Historically, Syracuse does not beat Virginia. But with the way each of these teams have been playing this season -- and more importantly, lately -- I don't think you can look at historical trends and just let that tell the story of who will win tonight. Virginia comes in as the #13 team in the country, but have three ACC losses -- to Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and Florida State, all on the road. None are slouches, to be sure, but none are historical ACC powerhouses. Meanwhile, Virginia's wins have been impressive -- over the likes of West Virginia, Villanova, Miami, and most recently the surging Clemson Tigers. So, the Cavaliers can beat good teams. Coach Tony Bennett uses a rotation with bench players, keeping his team fresh, and spreading around the contributions -- a luxury Syracuse doesn't have. Malcom Brogdon is the most likely to chuck up a three, so the zone needs to zero in on him. However, if the Cavs get it to London Perrantes, he's successful from deep at a much higher percentage. Anthony Gill can get after the rebounds, particularly on the offensive glass, so Syracuse will have to neutralize him to cut down on Virginia's second chance points. For the Orange, I think you look at the blueprint from the last three games, and just keep doing that -- consistent scoring, attacking the glass, and playing tough, gritty defense. Really the biggest question is how much will the delayed game and travel readjustments affect the Orange? It'll be talked about, but I think it'll be a non-factor. However, I just think Virginia's too tough, particularly at home, for Syracuse to steal a win, so I've got Virginia by four. This game is available tonight at 7:00pm EST on ESPN2 and the WatchESPN app. I'll have a 2-TV setup for this and the NFC Championship, as I'm sure most of you will as well. See you on the tweets!