Syracuse will close its three-game homestand when it hosts NC State at the Carrier Dome (7:00 p.m. ET / ESPN2) on Tuesday. Ahead of the game, The Juice Online’s Saugat Sen and Wes Cheng give their predictions below.
Season Record 3-1
NC State is as well distributed a scoring team as the Orange will face all season with four starters averaging in double figures.
The Wolfpack are lead by senior guard CJ Bryce who tops the teams in both points and rebounds per game. With his 6’5″ frame and 41 percent shooting from the outside, Syracuse guards Buddy Boeheim and Joe Girard III will be key in defending him at the top of the zone.
Fellow senior guard Markell Johnson is an excellent distributor of the ball and is second in the ACC in assists per game only to Duke’s Tre Jones.
It is hard to find an obvious weakness of this NC State team that has veteran players who know how to play well together. In recent games, the Wolfpack have determined their fate through their outside shooting.
During their three game losing streak in January, they shot 22 percent or less. In the win against Miami on Saturday, they shot 42 percent.
The Orange have struggled to stop opposition guards from getting open looks, and expect that trend to continue. NC State comes into the Dome and get a critical win and pass the Orange in ACC standings with a 75-69 win.
Season Record 13-2
On the one hand, NC State should be an above-average ACC team.
They’ve got a myraid of different scoring options, with five different players averaging nine points or more. They had a stud freshman center (Manny Bates), who is averaging 3.0 blocks per game.
And they have a legitimate No. 1 option in CJ Bryce that leads his team in scoring (13.7 ppg), rebounding (6.3) and and score from inside and out (36.0 percent from downtown). The Wolfpack also holds some nice wins, narrowly winning on the road against Virginia and a rout of Wisconsin at home.
But NC State is currently squarely on the NCAA Bubble with Syracuse, and is actually ranked behind the Orange in KenPom’s rankings (61 to 56). That’s because they also have some frustrating losses, including getting inexplicably swept by Georgia Tech in their season series, and prior to Saturday, they were mired in a three game-losing streak.
NC State badly needs a Quad 1 won to boost its NCAA resume, and Tuesday’s game at the Carrier Dome represents that opportunity. The Orange is currently 65th in NET, and a Q1 win is awarded to a road win against a top 75 NET team.
Most of the best Basketball betting odds bookies give the Orange a 66.4 percent chance to win this game, but I’m calling an upset here, with the Wolfpack handing Syracuse a 75-72 loss.