College Hoops

Keeping It Heel Staff Picks @ Syracuse

Keeping It Heel Staff Picks @ Syracuse

The UNC basketball team hits the road to take on the Syracuse Orange on Tuesday night.

North Carolina defeated NC State in the Smith Center on Saturday afternoon to extend their winning streak to three games prior to Tuesdayโ€™s game at Syracuse.ย  The Tar Heels will be looking to pick up their second straight road win against an Orange team that they are currently tied with in the ACC standings.ย  With Carolina off this weekend, this will be the final game of January and mark the halfway point of the conference schedule.ย  Will the Tar Heels be able to keep it rolling and pick up a key win against Jim Boeheim and company?ย  Find out what our staff thinks below!

Nick Delahanty

Make no mistake: this is a good Syracuse team.

If you look at the numbers, they are very similar to the Tar Heels. The major difference between the two teams is three-point shooting, as the Orange shoot five percent better from beyond the arc.

This could be an issue, as weโ€™ve seen first-hand how North Carolina has struggled against teams who can shoot from deep.

I expect Leaky Black to be tasked with slowing down Joseph Girard, who has really taken over as the leader of the offense nicely. This one will come down to two things:

  1. Can the Tar Heels stick to their strengths and produce offensively
  2. Will North Carolinaโ€™s defense put together a strong performance to help slow down Syracuse offensively

Iโ€™m not expecting this one to be pretty by any means, but I think North Carolina will do enough to win this high-scoring affair.

Prediction: North Carolina 89, Syracuse 86

Mark DeMott

Outside of their struggles away from home this season, I like this matchup for the Tar Heels.

Syracuseโ€™s leading scorer, Joe Girard, will likely be guarded by Leaky Black.ย  If Leaky is sound defensively, I think that his length and athleticism could make it very difficult on Girard.ย  Their second-leading scorer, Judah Mintz, is a very talented freshman, but he shoots under 20% from behind the arc.ย  Their only other double-figure scorer is Jesse Edwards who is a big man that is prone to foul trouble and gets a lot of his points on offensive rebounds/putbacks.

On the offensive end, Pete Nance appears to be a great candidate to put in the middle of the 2-3 zone due to his ability to handle the ball, pass, and shoot out of the high post.ย  When playing Syracuse, it is critical to take care of the ball and find, take, and make open shots.ย  The perimeter shooting of RJ Davis, Caleb Love, Dโ€™Marco Dunn, Puff Johnson…

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