Beat writers predict poor outcome for Syracuse in return to ACC play

first_imgSyracuse (8-5, 1-1 Atlantic Coast) returns to conference play with a game against Notre Dame  (9-4, 0-2) on Saturday in the Carrier Dome. The Orange last played on Dec. 28 against Niagara, who SU defeated 71-57. Elijah Hughes led the way with 19 points and neared a triple-double against the Purple Eagles (nine rebounds, nine assists).See who The Daily Orange beat writers think will win when Syracuse faces the Fighting Irish in its first game of the new year. Nick Alvarez (11-2)March onNotre Dame 72, Syracuse 67Syracuse needs to start compiling premier wins and fast if it wants any hope at an at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament. ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi’s first mock had only five ACC teams in the field — the low number exemplifying the country’s best conference having a down year. That means toppling the Irish at home for its *real* conference opener. But I just don’t see it. Notre Dame’s 2020 squad relies on its defense and doesn’t turn the ball over, a poor combination for the Orange. SU wins this game if it’s a shootout, but does it have the offense to blow past UND? While Syracuse will have the best player on the floor in Elijah Hughes, depth is tested in conference play and Notre Dame has the advantage. Michael McCleary (9-4)Might take a bit longerNotre Dame 76, Syracuse 70AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHere we go again. Syracuse was in a similar spot a few games back when a mid-major North Florida team walked into the Carrier Dome and immediately threatened from the outside. Over 47% of the Irish’s shot attempts come from beyond the arc, something the perimeter-oriented are used to drawing up schemes for. Not that it gives them the advantage, but Syracuse has seen the 3-pointer used heavily before, from its opponents and its own game plan. North Florida was still able to keep it close because game plan here or game plan there, but the young Orange team needs work everywhere. But now, SU is in the Atlantic Coast Conference part of its schedule. As it stands now, the Orange need some major victories to boost their tournament résumé. The Notre Dame team it gets Saturday doesn’t seem to be at the bottom of the conference. Syracuse does.Josh Schafer (10-3)UnluckyNotre Dame 74, Syracuse 65The problems for Syracuse start with 6-foot-9 John Mooney, who averages a double-double for the Irish. The Orange have shown no way of stopping a player of that caliber down low this season and it’s hard to believe that will change in this game. While Syracuse may not struggle offensively against an average Notre Dame defense, the Irish’s clean play on offense will limit fast break opportunities and help keep the game in a controlled setting — which hasn’t been Syracuse’s best set this year. Syracuse has shown some improvements since losing to Georgetown, but as the competition stiffens again, it might not be enough. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on January 3, 2020 at 8:22 pmlast_img