Can the Orange make it two straight?
Following a double-overtime victory against Indiana on Tuesday, the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team is back in action on Saturday for the ACC opener at the Florida State Seminoles. Syracuse hasn’t fared too well vs. the ‘Noles of late, with the last win coming back in 2017. But the teams are actually tied at 4-4 since the Orange joined the conference, and it doesn’t seem like FSU is at the peak of their powers compared to recent seasons.
Still, this will be a tough matchup. So can Syracuse nab a win on the road? The TNIAAM staff weighs in with their predictions below. Also, FWIW, SU’s likely an underdog per DraftKings (odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details).
FSU 83, Syracuse 80
The ‘Noles are a top-40 team on both ends of the floor, but Syracuse’s defensive shortcomings are still likely to push this contest into the 80s. I do think the Orange give them a game, and there’s a chance FSU’s lack of real size among its core contributors means Syracuse’s rebounding struggles are mitigated. This ultimately could come down to just whether SU’s threes fall or not. Florida State’s allowing 33.3% shooting from outside this season too (177th in the country), so there’s a chance they actually do fall for the Orange.
FSU 88, Syracuse 75
Florida state has been successful so far this season, with wins against the University of Pennsylvania, Loyola Marymount, and Boston University before suffering a 93-65 loss in their last game to Purdue. I think although Syracuse has strong momentum from their double overtime win Tuesday night, FSU’s strong defensive scheme that took Purdue out of their rhythm should prove a tough challenge for the Orange to overcome Saturday night
Florida State 75, Syracuse 73
The fight Syracuse showed in the second overtime is really encouraging but the fact that they let an 18-point lead evaporate shows that this team still has some glaring flaws. The Seminoles might not be able to take advantage of the defensive issues but they have enough athletes to make the Orange work to find good perimeter shots. It’s hard to guess which Syracuse team will show up right now- if the shots fall they can certainly grab a huge road win, but I think the impact of the game on Tuesday is enough to favor FSU at home.
Florida State 85, Syracuse 79
This game will closely parallel the Auburn matchup as Florida State is the tallest team in the country with an average player height of 6-foot-6. In spite of not having a lot of shooting on its roster (watch out for Wyatt Wilkes though), the Seminoles shouldn’t have much problem getting the ball inside against this 2-3 zone defense. Syracuse will able to score in this game and if it has any hope it’ll have to compete from the three point line in this matchup, but ultimately the rebounding and athletes inside for the Seminoles will prove to be too much.
Florida State 84, Syracuse 75
The Orange just don’t have the consistency on offense to get out to a first-half lead like they did against Indiana. Unless proven otherwise, Syracuse is way too boom-or-bust to hang with the ACC teams. And now against bigger competition, the Orange shooters need to come alive to make up for the size difference inside. This might not be good.
Now it’s your turn…