Syracuse heads down to Tallahassee to take on Florida State for both team’s first game of ACC play.
- Teams: Syracuse Orange (4-3, 0-0 ACC) v. Florida State Seminoles (5-2, 0-0)
- Date: Saturday, Dec. 4
- Game Time: 4:00 p.m. ET
- Venue: Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, Tallahassee, Fla.
- Network: ACC Network
Fearless Prediction: Syracuse 71, FSU 60
Syracuse has struggled on defense all year, and it showed up last week as Syracuse barely beat a middling Indiana team, 112-110, thanks to two late free throws from Joe Girard III in double overtime.
Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim lamented after the game that even the impressive first-half defensive performance was due more to Indiana not shooting the ball well. Syracuse currently ranks 336th in the country in scoring defense, giving up 81.9 points per game, so a shifted focus away from the 2-3 zone to a 1-3-1 defense may become more of a focus, as Buddy Boeheim alluded to in his post-game press conference.
The Seminoles are an excellent team at forcing turnovers, sitting at eighth in the nation in steal percentage and 12th in overall turnover percentage. Against a Syracuse team that’s currently tied for 89th in turnovers, with 12 per game, that could be an issue.
FSU doesn’t have a player averaging more than 12 points per game, and they make up for that offensive inefficiency by playing physical, stout defense and forcing opposing offenses to make mistakes. The Orange had 12 turnovers in the win over Indiana, but I expect if they hit that number again the result won’t be as positive.
Syracuse has the experienced offensive firepower to put this FSU team away late. If they can play a clean game and get their stars in a comfortable rhythm, they should be able to pull off a tough road win.