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After a game in South Bend, Indiana, on Wednesday, Syracuse returns to the Carrier Dome three days later for its most anticipated home game of the season — a matchup with No. 7 Duke.
The Blue Devils cruised past the Orange at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Jan. 22, a victory keyed by 14 3s and 15 points each from Wendell Moore Jr., Paolo Banchero and AJ Griffin. Buddy Boeheim was limited to seven points on 2-of-15 shooting in the loss, while Syracuse shot just 26.5% from the field in the opening half.
Here’s what The Daily Orange’s beat writers think will happen in the final regular-season meeting between coaches Mike Krzyzewski, who’s retiring after the season, and Jim Boeheim .
Andrew Crane (20-8)
Too hot to handle
Duke 85, Syracuse 72
Syracuse’s last game against Duke turned into a blowout simply because, as Roshan’s tagline suggests, the Blue Devils are in another league than this year’s SU team. Frank Anselem or Bourama Sidibe guarding Mark Williams? Oh boy. Trevor Keels back as a guard in the rotation? Even worse for SU. Those two matchups alone will be key to follow, both missing from the last meeting between the two teams. Like in any game, Buddy, Cole Swider and Joe Girard III have the ability to keep Syracuse in any game with 3-point shooting, so that could give the Orange a chance.
But eventually, look for Duke’s depth — exactly what the Orange don’t have — to eventually wear Syracuse down. Maybe it won’t happen in the first half. Maybe SU will keep it close, and it won’t happen until the final 10 minutes. But it’ll eventually happen. And that’s when the Blue Devils will start to pull away.
Roshan Fernandez (17-11)
In another league
Duke 80, Syracuse 75
The first Syracuse-Duke game was an indication of the gap between the top of the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Orange. But since that 20-point loss, Syracuse has looked like a revolutionized team. Despite losing Jesse Edwards, it’s produced offensively both in the paint and beyond the 3-point arc, and the defense has looked improved. The Orange are playing their best basketball of the year in February, and they’ve looked very good at home.
All that being said, Duke is just on another level. I just don’t think Syracuse is a good enough team to defend a top-ranked offense. The Orange are certainly capable of cracking a top-ranked defense if they shoot well from deep, but that won’t be enough against the Blue Devils. Even though they seem to have turned a corner since the last Duke loss, I just can’t pick against the Blue Devils. This year, they’re a mismatch for Syracuse.
Gaurav Shetty (17-11)
Contenders and pretenders
Duke 84, Syracuse 71
Duke is rightfully near the top of the ACC based on the talent of the team, but I’m not sure if it’s a true contender for a national title. Still, that’s a conversation for another day. Meanwhile Syracuse has put together a decent run in February, but with the overall season the Orange have had, it’s hard to trust them against the Blue Devils. Duke could easily employ the same strategy as the last meeting and faceguard Buddy to take him out of the game.
Without Jesse Edwards, the offense has been significantly worse, so I don’t trust the rest of the supporting cast to outscore Duke’s stars. Syracuse has done well to beat the opponents that it should beat — which hasn’t been a given this season — but this game especially will provide a reality check.
The post Beat writers agree Syracuse won’t be able to upset No. 7 Duke appeared first on The Daily Orange.