Beat Duke? Beat Duke!
The Syracuse Orange (9-9, 3-4) men’s basketball team is on the road to face the Duke Blue Devils (14-3, 4-2) in Cameron Indoor Saturday at noon. Syracuse is hoping build momentum after holding off Clemson while Duke has dropped two of their last three games.
So before these teams face off we’ll tell you what we think will happen beyond the announcers talking about the relationship between Coach K and Jim Boeheim. And if you’re betting minded, perhaps you’ll find some appealing odds for the game over at DraftKings (odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details).
Duke 85, Syracuse 78
Both teams can score so this one should be fun to watch. The challenge for Syracuse is going to be keeping Jesse Edwards out of foul trouble against a taller Duke frontcourt. Mark Williams killed the Orange last season when he had 18 points and 11 rebounds and if Edwards has to help out in the corners, Williams could feast on the offensive glass. Look for Buddy Boeheim to see multiple defenders in this one so other players are going to have to step up for the Syracuse offense.
Duke 82, Syracuse 75
After a definitive 91-78 conference win against Clemson Tuesday night, Syracuse now gets a crack at a vulnerable Duke Blue Devils today at 12 PM, who are coming off a 79-78 OT loss to FSU. Syracuse beat FSU earlier this season, on December 4th 63-60, behind four of the five Orange’s starters finishing with 10+ points. With this victory Syracuse also snapped the Seminole’s 25 game home winning streak, stretching all the way back to last season. Despite getting the upper hand on Duke by beating FSU, it’s going to be hard for Syracuse to contain the projected number one overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft, forward Paolo Banchero. Banchero averages 18 points and 7 rebounds on 50 percent shooting from the field in 30.8 minutes a game. Expect a strong effort from the Orange in Cameron, but the Blue Devils to get the upper hand this time.
Duke 91, Syracuse 80
There’s one area that Syracuse could take advantage of the Blue Devils and that is on the glass. The Orange should take a lot of confidence after decisively winning the rebounding battle against the Tigers. However, with Duke have multiple athletic players who can crash the glass, offensive rebounds for kick-out threes seem like a disaster for the Orange waiting to happen. Add that to the diversity of how Duke can score and Coach K’s familiarity of the zone and the Orange defense could get carved up once again.
Syracuse 90, Duke 88
Ok, nobody else has any courage around here so I’m doing it. I’ve entirely talked myself into Syracuse winning this game for no logical reason, but on one condition: that Trevor Keels doesn’t play. If you recall from 2019, an unranked Syracuse team received 17 points from Las Vegas at Duke and turned that into a win only when Frank Howard wittingly (kidding) took out Tre Jones as Duke was devoid of a point guard for the rest of the game. Perhaps a theme has emerged? This is Syracuse’s best (last?) chance at a big win this season and the Orange will pull out all the stops. I suspect Duke will take more 3s than it would otherwise like and if Joe Girard and Buddy Boeheim continue their hot shooting, Cole Swider gets involved and Jesse Edwards stays out of foul trouble against Mark Williams, Syracuse can beat the Blue Devils. That might be a lot of ifs, so if I’m wrong direct all complaints to John Cassillo or Sean Keeley.