Beat writers expect Orange to fall short at No. 13 North Carolina

first_imgPhil D’Abbraccio (16-4): North Carolina 72, Syracuse 65Heels over headsThe downward slide continues. Syracuse is rebounding well, but the physicality of North Carolina’s big men means the thin SU rotation will really be tested in how it handles foul trouble. Competing with the Atlantic Coast Conference’s top rebounding team will be a challenge in itself, and keeping the Orange’s vital players on the floor and not on the bench will be even more difficult. And we saw how Syracuse shot free throws with a home-crowd advantage on Saturday. Shooting from the line in a raucous Dean E. Smith Center environment — plus being drained, physically — doesn’t bode much better for SU.Jesse Dougherty (16-4): North Carolina 71, Syracuse 62Home sickSyracuse may have fallen to Miami on Saturday, but there’s no doubting that the 30,000-plus Carrier Dome crowd had something to do with the Orange keeping it close. Now SU travels to Chapel Hill, North Carolina where Roy Williams’ Tar Heels have lost just twice this season — once in conference play to then-No. 13 Notre Dame — and it promises to be one of the hardest tests of Syracuse’s season. The Orange was sluggish in road conference wins over Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech in early January, and playing No. 13 North Carolina in the Dean E. Smith Center is a whole different beast. Beasts haven’t been too kind to short-handed SU this season, and expect that trend to continue.Jacob Klinger (17-3): North Carolina 75, Syracuse 63Oh, Tar-tar sauceThis is Syracuse’s best chance to knock off one of the ACC’s elite teams. The Tar Heels don’t shoot especially well, which is the easiest way to beat the zone. But they do get to the basket like nobody’s business. The Orange struggled to keep Miami out of the lane on Saturday and keeping the top of the defense tight has been a patchy area for SU all season. Marcus Paige doesn’t make it any easier. More importantly, this exposes Rakeem Christmas to foul trouble and Chinonso Obokoh to having to play. A team that’s dependent on big men for scoring shouldn’t be able to win with a center whose primary offensive responsibility is setting screens. Not against North Carolina at North Carolina, anyway. Comments Published on January 26, 2015 at 4:08 pm Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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