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Syracuse- Louisville Preview

Syracuse students agree: Another Top Ten win, and on the road, should make them a lock.
Syracuse almost did it. They got the game to overtime, but just couldn't outlast the Cardinals. Syracuse now has a shot to beat #7 on the road. Can they do it? Well it definitely is possible the way Syracuse has slayed Top Ten teams this season. Not to mention taking Louisville to OT. But can Syracuse put together two haves of great basketball on the road? They really haven't done it this season yet. Syracuse again got down to Louisville and managed to hit shots down the stretch, like they did with Duke. But Syracuse needs to actually play well all the way though. The L'ville game was close at the half, because Syracuse played good defense for long stretches and managed to prevent scoring but also caused turnovers. Syracuse will have to again play smart defense and GUARD THE BASELINE FROM THE START OF THE GAME. Additionally, L'ville will try and get the ball to the foul line. Syracuse will have to be smarter in the choices they make in who to cover. Anas Mahmoud torched SU off the bench in the last one, making a couple big time plays down the stretch. Syracuse will have to find him, as well as Donovan Mitchell if they want to be successful. Andrew White disappeared against Duke, but he had a stellar game against Louisville. My guess is he will also be a bit more covered in this one, which means Tyler Lydon, and Tyus Battle will have to score. Additionally if Tauren Thompson stays out of foul trouble like he did against Duke, Syracuse will likely benefit from him being on the floor, at least taking defender's attention. I think Syracuse sure could get another upset win, and more importantly a road win, but it seems unlikely against L'ville in the Yum Center. I'll take the Cards at home by 13. This game is available nationally on CBS at 2:00pm. I'll be watching with some friends and John will be in the home office. Enjoy and Go Orange!

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Duke - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: Gotta beat Duke then head to Flip Night.
Syracuse blew a chance for a road win on Sunday against a vulnerable GTech team (horrible offensive foul call not withstanding). Now Duke heads into the Carrier Dome for a mid-week match. Syracuse has everything to gain by beating Duke. You defend your home court, you get another impressive win, and you... beat Duke. Syracuse needs this one, because despite what that idiot Lunardi says, I think this team is currently NIT bound. Syracuse needs another resume win and preferably around 20 wins after the ACC Tourney to make it in. Syracuse has word to do. And Duke will be a problem. Almost everyone on Duke can shoot, and Syracuse will have to break out of its scoring slump. Lydon was gone last game and Gillon probably had one of his worst games of the season. Syracuse must score and play almost perfect defense. It's possible. Duke got smoked last year by Syracuse at Duke. This Duke team is great but not unbeatable. Syracuse almost had Louisville. Syracuse can get Duke. It's simple. If Syracuse plays well, guards the line, and makes shots, they'll win like they did against UVA. If they don't, Duke will win and basically relegate Syracuse to the NIT pending a miraculous ACC run. I just don't like the way Syracuse has been playing lately though. They aren't executing. I'll take Duke by 9. This game is available on ESPN / WatchESPN at 7:00pm. John is in the Dome. I'm at home. Giddy up. Let's Go Orange!

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Syracuse - Pittsburgh Preview

Syracuse students agree: Double the wins against Pitt, double the fun.
Syracuse heads to Pittsburgh to take on the Panthers in one of the toughest places to play in College Basketball. At least that used to be the case. Pittsburgh is now in 14th place in the toughest league in America. They're 2-9 in conference play. Their only wins in conference are their last game against Boston College and their only home conference win against then #11 Virginia. That win was impressive, but that was all the way back on January 5th. Between their two wins, they rattled off 8 losses, including to Clemson, NC State, and getting SMOKED by Miami. Syracuse has a chance to win 6 in a row, and beat a rival twice in one season, something they haven't managed to do with Pittsburgh in a while. But can Syracuse do it? Syracuse had a huge lead against Pittsburgh in the first half of their last game in Syracuse, but Pitt stormed back and made it at least more interesting in the end. Closer than it should have been. However, Syracuse is playing much better ball as of late. And I'm not confident Kevin Stallings has found a remedy has found a magic potion to make him better at coaching offense against the 2-3 Zone. On top of that, Gillon is playing much better and has become the clear full time point guard, which was not quite the case when Syracuse played Pittsburgh the last time. As a matter of fact, the Pittsburgh game was really Gillon's coming out party. If he, Andrew White, and Battle continue to play well, they can earn another win at the Pete. Syracuse, after all, was the first team to do so, and the first #1 team to win at the Pete. If you're keeping track at home. I like the Orange in this matchup again. I think the game will be a lot closer being at Pittsburgh. But I have to think the way this team is playing, the let down won't happen against Pittsburgh. I'll take the Orange by 6. This game is available regionally on The ACC Network at 1:00pm. Check your local listings here. John is in the home office, and I'm at home too but only watching via internet because apparently The ACC hates Massachusetts. We'll see you out there.

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Caption contest!

Syracuse has been one of the hottest teams in the ACC -- maybe even the country -- over the last few weeks. Wins over ranked opponents Florida State and Virginia, a road win, and renewed NCAA Tournament talk have put Syracuse back on the map. Tuesday night in Clemson, Syracuse faced a team similar to itself -- a team probably sitting on the bubble (and probably the right side of it) -- which made the game an important resume game for both teams. Maybe moreso for Syracuse, because it would be another quality road win. Finding itself in another double digit hole, the Orange clawed back, and with a Tyler Lydon kickout to Tyus Battle on the wing for a 3-point basket as time expired, Syracuse ended victorious, 82-81.

  • Andrew White continues to impress offensively. In this game, he was 8-20 for 23 points (including 5-12 from three), five rebounds, and a steal in all 40 minutes.
  • Syracuse had two other full-gamers: Tyler Lydon (17 points, 7-12 shooting with nine rebounds), and John Gillon (13 points, 2-5 shooting, a perfect 7-7 from the line, and eight assists).
  • Taurean Thompson made the most of his minutes, offensively: 14 points on 6-8 shooting, four rebounds (three offensive) in only 17 minutes. Until the defense improves, Taurean will see limited minutes.
  • That, of course, paves the way for more Tyler Roberson minutes. He had 22 minutes on Tuesday, with a solid six points and seven rebounds. If he could be the type of scorer Taurean is, he'd not only start games, but he'd play the majority of the minutes. Until then, it'll have to be a rotation.
  • Frank Howard also got some minutes, 
  • But that leaves us to talk about Tyus Battle. He played 33 minutes, but was largely invisible: six points (on two threes made), one rebound, a couple turnovers, and a couple fouls. But I think it was his invisibility that allowed Syracuse to win this game. Driving up the floor with time running down, Tyler Lydon was to take the pass from Gillon and then shoot it up. But Clemson had that covered. Meanwhile, Battle set up on the wing and was wide open. Sensing the coverage, but recognizing Battle's position, Lydon kicked it over to Battle, who put up a shot from beyond the arc with just enough time for the ball to pass through the hoop as time expired. The rest, as you know, is history.
  • Both teams shot well (Syracuse 50.9%, Clemson 53.7%) in a game where neither team's defense excelled at getting stops. Usually, scoreless possessions were due to turnovers or the occasional bad shot. This game almost seemed destined to end on a buzzer-beater.
  • Syracuse won the rebounding battle, 33-24, and was able to limit Clemson to zero second chance points. Zero. Of course, that's a combination of Syracuse rebounding, and the aforementioned hot shooting, thus negating the need to try to score after a miss.
Syracuse has turned into a team that can get down -- double digits -- and you can still have faith they'll win. So this is something new. But that's obviously a good trait to have, particularly in terms of attractiveness for the Tourney. So keep your eye on that. Next up, a game at the Pete. Historically, this would be a tough game against a tough Pitt team. But this year, Pitt is shit. Syracuse better not look past them to Louisville on Monday, because at this point a loss at Pitt might be worse than that loss at BC. We don't need to go back to that version of Syracuse basketball; the current version is working out just fine.

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Syracuse - Clemson Preview

Syracuse students agree: Can't have a let down after that last win.
Syracuse earned another top ten win last Saturday. But Syracuse now leaves the friendly confines again to take on Clemson. One of the teams currently at the bottom of the ACC, that doesn't mean they aren't talented. Syracuse must stop Jaron Blossomgame. He is clearly the best player on Clemson. And if he is allowed to go wild, Syracuse will find themselves in another hole that they have to crawl out of. And this might be the time they don't do it. The good news is that Clemson is not a great three point shooting team. If Syracuse plays some solid defense, Syracuse should win this game. Unlike against Virginia, where good defense was enough but they had to score a bunch, Syracuse in this one has to limit Clemson and they should be fine if they don't get the same production levels out of Battle or Lydon. Despite the fact that Syracuse is playing on the road, I think Syracuse's defense is playing really well right now. I'll take the Orange over Clemson by 13. This game is available regionally on the ACC Network at 8:00pm. Check your local listings here. John and I are both in the home office, but I'm internet only. He'll probably win again. Go (the real) Orange!

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899? That's crazy. It's definitely 1000.
Syracuse had to score to beat Virginia. It didn't quite happen in the first half. But it definitely did in the second. Over and over. Syracuse earned a nice win in front of one of the biggest crowds of the year. And Syracuse couldn't really celebrate it. But the crowd knew. Syracuse earned a win over #9 Virginia 66 to 62.
  • Tyus Battle tied Andrew White for the most points for Syracuse on the day. Each earned 23. But Battle really had a coming out game. He just made great play after great play. White also made bucket after bucket.
  • Tyler Lydon only had six points and three blocks, but he was the big reason Virginia had trouble scoring inside as he continued to play great defense at the five spot.
  • John Gillon played really well, and the shot he made in the lane was really spectacular to help seal the win for Syracuse.
  • Syracuse shot 73.7% from the floor in the second half. That is unheard of, especially against the best defensive team in the nation.
  • Virginia only got to the free throw line five times.
  • Syracuse was sunk by their shooting in the first half. They finished 7-18 from 3. But it was because they were 9-23 and 3-12 shooting respectively in the first half that were the problems. At the half, Jim Boeheim masterfully went to driving the ball and spreading Virginia out. It also helped that Virginia turned the ball over which lead to some easy baskets for Syracuse as well.
Syracuse earned another solid victory, but the season isn't over. Syracuse still has some work to do. However, it's good to see that again Syracuse was able to defend its home court against another top ten team.

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Virginia - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: Another resume builder is needed.
Syracuse and Virginia haven't had a great history as far as Syracuse is concerned. They had not won an ACC meeting against Virginia, and Jim Boeheim was 0-3 against Tony Bennett. That is, until the NCAA Elite Eight last season. Syracuse completed a furious rally down 16 points and ended up winning to send Syracuse, the 10 Seed, to their 6th Final Four. Tony Bennett had not lost a game when leading at the half up until that point. Syracuse ended last year's high hopes of Virginia. Now #9 Virginia comes into the Carrier Dome this year. Allegedly not motivated by any revenge, Syracuse needs another resume building win to salvage a season that was the worst first 20 games in Jim Boeheim's career. Syracuse has played very well at home, only losing to Georgetown and St. John's. Last Saturday they picked off #6 Florida State. Syracuse can do it. They can beat Virginia. But will they? Virginia has the best defense in the country. Syracuse will need to continue their hot shooting if they want to beat Virginia. Syracuse's defense has been slightly better at home than on the road. But really adequate defense should be able to beat Virginia. The issue is can Syracuse score, and score consistently against Virginia. If they do that, they'll win a nice game at home. And by nice, I'm mean Jim Boeheim's actual 1000th win. If they can't score, and the Virginia defense forces turnovers and causes Gillon to be too uncomfortable, Virginia is probably going to blow Syracuse out. If Gillon continues to play above board, and Lydon and White continue to do their part, Syracuse is going to have a grand afternoon. The picks this year have been kind of worthless. It's hard to predict this team. So just for good karma's sake, I'll take Virginia over the Orange by 9. This game is available nation wide on ESPN 2 / WatchESPN at 12:00pm. Both John and I will be in the Dome so if you're making the trip and you see us, say hey. We'll see you out there. GO ORANGE!

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Syracuse - NC State Preview

Syracuse students agree: A winning streak would be mighty nice.
Syracuse put together a pretty great game against Florida State on Saturday. Syracuse will need to do the same in every game, but if they do it tonight, they'll have a bit of a winning streak going. And no better time to get a nice win on the road. NC State has been a bit up and down, losing to Wake Forest and Boston College, but also beating Virginia Tech and Duke. So which NC State team will show up to play Syracuse? Which Syracuse team traveled to Raleigh? No idea. What I do know is to win, Syracuse must stop phenomenal freshman guard Dennis Smith. He's averaging 19 points in league games and leads the league in assists and steals. He could be a nightmare for Syracuse, so they need to continue their improved defense and shut down Smith. Additionally we need to see Tyler Lydon keep up the high level of play, but also Tyus Battle and Andrew White need to continue their hot play. Winning on the road is tough, but winning on the road in the ACC is even tougher. Syracuse definitely has a chance for the nice win, just like we saw last Saturday, but I'm nervous because Syracuse really hasn't played well away from home. Just because of that fact, I'm taking NC State by six. This game is available nation wide on ESPN 2 / WatchESPN at 7:00pm. Both John and I are in the home office so we'll see you out there. GO ORANGE!

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