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Syracuse - Virginia NCAA Tournament Elite 8 Preview

Syracuse students agree: Being Elite is great. A Final 4 is better.
Syracuse did what not many people thought they would do this year. They made it to the Elite 8. And they did it by advancing from the Sweet 16 by beating a pretty good Gonzaga team. Syracuse will now have to beat a very good Virginia team if they want to head to Houston for the Final 4. And honestly, it's a pretty similar matchup Syracuse had with Gonzaga. Virginia has 7 footer Mike Tobey, who went off on Syracuse in their game in Virginia with 18 points, a season high for him. It's no secret that one of SU's weaknesses is interior defense. However, Syracuse did just enough against Gonzaga's Sabonis to win the game. Syracuse can do the same in this one. If Syracuse can get some stops and blocks, forcing turnovers, and guard the Virginia shooters, Syracuse will keep the game close and have a chance to win, just like against Gonzaga. Syracuse is obviously playing much better defense these last 3 games than during their tough stretch in the ACC. If Syracuse can limit the Virginia shooters, including Anthony Gil and London Perrantes, not to mention ACC PoY Malcolm Brogdon, just like they limited Gonzaga's Wiltjer. Despite early game success, Syracuse was able to adjust to the 'Zags shooters and shut them down late in the 2nd half. But really, Syracuse had a shot against Virginia earlier in the year with close to 5 minutes having the game tied. Syracuse faded and Cooney, who was 3-13 from 3 at Virginia, shot SU out of it. Cooney has been making much better decisions as of late. If Roberson is rebounding well, and Syracuse is actually hitting shots, even if Lydon or Richardson isn't contributing with a ton of points, they should still be in this game. I never thought I'd be picking Syracuse to go to a Final 4 this season, but I think Syracuse actually has a good matchup here, especially after the Gonzaga results. I'm taking the Orange by 4 against the Cavs. This game will be broadcast nationally on TBS at approximately 6:09pm Eastern. With a trip to the Final 4 on the line, as well as a little payback for Syracuse not having beaten UVA in ACC play, this should be a fun one.

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