Syracuse will try to snap a two-game losing streak when it hosts Wake Forest on Saturday evening. Here’s a preview of the game.
- Teams: Syracuse Orange (10-11, 4-6 ACC) v. NC State Wolfpack (10-12, 3-8)
- Date: Wednesday, Feb. 2
- Game Time: 9:00 p.m. ET
- Venue: PNC Arena, Raleigh, N.C.
- Network: ESPN2
Fearless Prediction: Syracuse 84, NC State 77
The Juice Online Season Record: 7-3 (ACC)
Syracuse and North Carolina State have similar profiles at KenPom. While the Orange were ranked at #79 overall coming into Tuesday and the Wolfpack back at #108, the two are in very close proximity on defense with SU at #228 and N.C. State not far behind at #232.
The bulk of the difference between the two is summed up by Syracuse owning the 16th-best offense in the country and the ‘Pack at #38, with just under four points per 100 possessions separating the two.
With Manny Bates out after less than a minute on the floor this season, N.C. State’s Dereon Seabron has stepped into a starring role. Seabron is fourth in the ACC in scoring (18.3 pts/game), second in rebounding (9.0 reb/game), and fifth in field goal percent (52.8) while leading the ‘Pack in assists.
However, Seabron was completely taken out of Saturday’s game against North Carolina, finishing with two points and three rebounds in 23 minutes. Can he bounce back or can SU hold him in check?
Can the Orange limit the perimeter shooting of Terquavion Smith and Jericole Hellems? They have combined for 110 threes on the season with Smith hitting at least four triples five times in the last nine games and Hellems making five treys in three of the last six.
» Related: Syracuse rides strong shooting to easy win over Wake Forest
The Wolfpack defense, meanwhile, has been gouged by ACC teams, giving up 48.2 percent shooting overall and 41.7 percent from three. Advanced stats are no kinder, as N.C. State has played six games against teams in the top 25 in offensive efficiency at KenPom and have struggled to keep them in check, with Purdue and Virginia Tech’s slower paces helping them out against those foes.
That appeals to Syracuse, who has shot 47 percent or better overall and 35 percent or better from three in four of their last six games and are coming off one of their best performances of the season on Saturday night. Duke and Miami, who are 15th and 18th in offense at KenPom, respectively, are also right by SU in pace, as all three schools are between 137th and 141st. The Blue Devils scored 88 on the ‘Pack and the Hurricanes even better, piling up 91 points.
Buddy Boeheim was electric on Saturday and every guard on State’s roster will be giving up size to him, save for Seabron, who plays more of a small forward role and will likely check Cole Swider, who seemed to find his range on Saturday night. Look for Boeheim use his bump-and-grind mid-range-and-in game to get going on offense.
Can the centers continue to contribute (19 points and eight boards against Wake Forest)? Will Jimmy Boeheim (8.7 points on 34.6 percent shooting) or Joe Girard III (7.7 points on 24.2 percent FG and 16.7 percent on threes) provide the complimentary offense that has been a little too much of the latter of hit-and-miss in the last three games?
Look for another shootout as SU’s newfound confidence carries over in a Syracuse win.
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