ACC Basketball

ACC Tournament, Quarterfinals: N.C. State vs. Syracuse

February 14, 2014 - Source: Rich Barnes/Getty Images North America

February 14, 2014 – Source: Rich Barnes/Getty Images North America

 

Let’s be clear, back on February 15, North Carolina State should have beaten Syracuse. Trevor Cooney’s foul on Cat Barber was during the act of shooting. The shot should have counted and he should have been at the free throw line trying to give his team a four-point lead with 14 seconds to go.

Of course that victory was Syracuse’s second straight hail-Mary win, which kept them undefeated at 25-0, but that was the last favor lady luck was willing to hand the Orange. They would lose four of five, including two ugly defeats to Boston College and Georgia Tech, both at home.

Obviously, Syracuse had a solid final game, crushing Florida State by 16 on the road. Yet, does that mean they’ve solved the problem?

There have been two main issues. First, with Jerami Grant out, the Orange have struggled to find bodies to fill the paint. However, Grant is back, producing a solid 16 points, 8 rebound vs. the Seminoles. However, the second issue was shooting, especially from deep. That problem remains. In that win against Florida State, they won despite the shooting woes, as Trevor Cooney and Tyler Ennis combined for 3-12 from deep.

N.C. State never has to worry about shooting from their star, T.J. Warren. He led the ACC in scoring, putting up 24 against Miami the ACC Tournament second round. The question for the Wolfpack remains, can anyone step up and be a partner in crime? If someone answers yes, then State wins. Against Miami, Ralston Turner delivered 22 points, thanks to five three-pointers.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Syracuse over N.C. State, 56-55.
Down one, Rakeem Christmas had an incredible steal off the inbound pass, leading to a fast break layup to C.J. Fair with just seven seconds on the clock. In that game, the Orange hit 50% of their shots inside the arc and hit nine more free throws.

WORTHLESS PREDICTION: North Carolina State Wolfpack
While it’s hard to ignore what Jerami Grant can do inside, I just don’t see how Syracuse scores enough points. Their backfield has not looked good in weeks, they play just six players, so I obviously worry about tired legs and let’s face it, playing in Greensboro, this is going to feel like a road game for the Orange. Look for Warren to light it up, living in the middle of Syracuse’s zone.

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