Only one game today as we enter the final week of the regular season but it should be interesting as Syracuse visits UNC after hosting Duke to complete a Triangle Turnaround.
Duke crushed the Orange and UNC probably won’t be much easier. Armando Bacot poses a similar problem to that of Mark Williams and as you will recall, Williams just ate Syracuse up inside. Without Jesse Edwards, Syracuse has to rely on the perimeter defenders to keep the ball away from Bacot and that’s iffy. He’s been a wrecking ball this season and the Orange may not be able to contain him. However, at times he picks up fouls like clockwork. When UNC put him on Paolo Banchero he picked up two in a big hurry. He fouled out against Virginia Tech and at Clemson, had four at Pitt, four at Louisville and four at NC State. Plus he tends to do things that, shall we say, interest the officials. So we expect Syracuse to try to bait him into fouls.
However, if they can contain the perimeter, Syracuse might be able to overcome Bacot inside.
Or, for that matter, if the Orange gets really hot from outside, then three beats two and they could win that way.
But really, UNC is a much better team now than they were earlier and we would expect them to win, especially at home and most especially on Senior Night for Leaky Black and, brief though his UNC career has been, Brady Manek. That guy has bailed UNC out more than once this season.
Potentially an issue: Leaky Black hyperextended his knee vs. NC State. We haven’t seen any update on that.
Keep this in mind too: in the last three games, UNC hasn’t been that great from outside, hitting 5-26 against Virginia Tech, 7-25 against Louisville and 9-27 against NC State. Put it together and that’s 21-78 for 26.9 percent.
If you can control Manek, no one else is shooting threes all that well. And Syracuse does have four guys who can do it in Jimmy and Buddy Boeheim, Cole Swider and Joe Girard.
Also, as we saw in the Duke game, Benny Williams is clearly talented. It’s just taking him a while to get up to speed. He could certainly be a factor.
This might be too: Duke embarrassed Syracuse on their home court.
They may have a point to make and maybe Jimmy Boeheim and Swider most of all: Swider only managed two points and Duke shut the elder Boeheim out completely.
Keep this in mind as well: Girard and Buddy Boeheim are #1 and #4 in the ACC for three point percentage.
Surprisingly to us, UNC is slightly ahead of Syracuse on three point shooting as a team, hitting .373 to Syracuse’s .371. But the Orange are slightly better at defending it at .338 to UNC’s .345.
Rebounding should entirely go UNC’s way. Bacot is a super board man and running a zone tends to make it harder to block out individually. On the other hand, just keeping someone away isn't as hard as actually getting the ball. Chris Carrawell and Robert Brickey could block out much bigger guys. A lot of it is just heart and desire.
We also think Syracuse has the advantage in ball security overall, but we’ll see there too. Certainly UNC has improved a great deal in the last few weeks.
Monday’s ACC Action
Syracuse @ UNC || 7:00 ||
- UNC’s Davis believes Armando Bacot should be ACC Player of the Year
- UNC’s Hubert Davis provides update on Leaky Black’s knee injury
- Preview: UNC men’s basketball must slow down Boeheim, feed post to defeat Syracuse
- Brady Manek’s historic time at Oklahoma led to a final season with North Carolina
- Beat writers unanimously predict UNC win over Syracuse
- Opponent Preview: What to know about North Carolina
- ACC tournament: Virginia Tech can spoil Duke and Coach K’s party
- ACC tournament bracket projection: Is Syracuse destined for another date with Duke?
- ACC Tournament or Bust for Virginia After Brutal Last-Second Loss to Florida State