The Syracuse Orange travel to face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in the Joyce Center. Here’s what to watch for.
- Teams: Syracuse Orange (15-12, 9-7 ACC) v. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (19-8, 12-4)
- Date: Wednesday, Feb. 23
- Game Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
- Venue: Joyce Center, Notre Dame, IN
- Network: ESPN News
Fearless Prediction: Syracuse 68, Notre Dame 61
The Juice Online Season Record: 13-3 (ACC)
The Orange square off against an opponent with the same record over the last five games. Like Syracuse, Notre Dame is 4-1 over its last five games after dropping a 79-74 decision to Wake Forest on the road. The Irish are one of a few surprise teams in the ACC this year, and are just one game behind Duke in the chase for the regular season title. Despite the solid record, Notre Dame is on the bubble this year, and is projected as a No. 9 seed in the latest Bracketology from CBS Sports.
While Syracuse is also 4-1 over its last five games, it hasn’t exactly been a murder’s row. SU’s only loss has been to an 8-8 Virginia Tech team, while the other four wins have been in the bottom half of the ACC. Still, they did manage to handily beat Boston College twice in that time period in regulation, something Notre Dame needed overtime to accomplish.
This game has the feeling of a wild one, as both teams are prone to streakiness. ESPN’S BPI is giving the Irish a 70 percent chance to win but I just don’t see the Irish as overwhelming favorites in this game. The Irish use a seven-man rotation with a fairly balanced approach as three starters average double digits, and their top six averages over 7.6 ppg. That said, no one really sets the net on fire with regularity as Blake Wesley is their leading scorer at only 14.7 ppg. I can see the Irish playing a slow paced game, using as much of the shot clock as possible and limiting possessions.
If they take that approach, it will play right into Syracuse’s strengths. The Orange is more than capable of winning this game. The Boeheim Brothers have the firepower to outscore the Irish, and the 2-3 zone will give the Irish fits, making up for the lack of offensive power inside with Frank Anselem and Bourama Sidibe continuing to fill in for Jesse Edwards.
I don’t expect it to be pretty, but I do see Syracuse pulling this one out.