ACC Basketball

Syracuse Looking to get Back on Track

(Dennis Nett | dnett@syracuse.com)

A lot has been made about the loss of Chris McCullough. I get it, he was a solid freshmen, but it’s not like he was owning the paint on the offensive side. Since mid-December he was averaging just four points per game, about 10 less than he was producing in Syracuse’s first eight games. The problem the Orange has had on offense is scoring from deep (263rd in 3P%) and at the free throw line (285th).

Where his presence is missed though is on the defensive side. He was a stud in Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 zone (second in blocks, first in steals until he went down) and in Syracuse’s three defeats since January 17, opponents have hit 50-98 two-point shots. Yet, can the Hokies take advantage of it.

Virginia Tech is solid from deep, third in the ACC, but outside of Joey van Zegeren working around the rim, they have little inside and penetration won’t be there against that defense and I’m not sure either Zegeren or Ahmed Hill can be facilitators in the middle of that zone.

Virginia Tech’s deep ball will make Syracuse sweat (and they’ll be the only ones in upstate NY to be sweating), but in the end, the Orange should get enough inside-outside production from Rakeem Christmas and Trevor Cooney.

WORTHLESS PREDICTION: Syracuse 80-72

 

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