The Syracuse Orange return home to face the Duke Blue Devils on Saturday at the Carrier Dome. Here’s what to watch for.
- Teams: Syracuse Orange (15-13, 9-8 ACC) v. Duke Blue Devils (24-4, 14-3)
- Date: Saturday, Feb. 26
- Game Time: 6:00 p.m. ET
- Venue: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
- Network: ESPN
Fearless Prediction: Duke 83, Syracuse 70
The Juice Online Season Record: 13-4 (ACC)
Saturday evening, longtime friends Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Boeheim will be friendly adversaries from opposite benches for the last time, barring a return meeting in the ACC Tournament. Hopefully, Boeheim’s team will not be as accommodating as they were when the two teams met in Durham back in January.
Duke delivered a haymaker to open that first game and, when Syracuse climbed back into the affair, quickly extinguished any comeback hopes leading by as many as 31 points as they coasted to a 79-59 win.
The Orange seemed stunned by the level of defensive aggressiveness they faced that day and only centers Frank Anselem and Jesse Edwards shot better than 40 percent from the field. The Blue Devils simply took away SU’s long-range shooting, as the squad filed their poorest three-point percentage of the season while tying their season-low output in treys at five.
Just as important for the Orange is to defend the three better than they did in the first matchup. Duke attempted their highest number of threes in a game in the first matchup and made more against the Orange than they have against any other high-major team this season.
Edwards’ absence does not bode well for this game, as his nine boards helped keep Syracuse’s -10 rebounding differential from being much worse. With this game being the fourth in eight days for the Orange, hopefully, their legs will not be absent, as well.
Of course, there has been a big movement by SU to try to fill the Dome for this one and those fans should help provide an emotional lift, but it simply will not be enough. The Blue Devils are simply too good, especially with Syracuse playing a big man down.