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IN-DEPTH PREVIEW: NC State needs a win at Syracuse tonight (7pm, ESPN2)

NC State Basketball

IN-DEPTH PREVIEW: NC State needs a win at Syracuse tonight (7pm, ESPN2)

NC State Wolfpack @ Syracuse Orange
Time: 7
pm (2/11)
Syracuse, NY
Line: Syracuse -5.5

What to expect from Syracuse
In some ways, The Orange is a pretty predictable team, but in some ways, they have been a little streaky. Let me explain.

You know what Syracuse is going to do defensively. They are going to roll out a long lineup and play that extended 2-3 zone that has been the trademark of Jim Boeheim. Their starting lineup is all over 6’5 except freshman point guard Joseph Girard. As usual, they’re pretty long, but they’re really not as athletic as they have been in the past. With Girard, Buddy Boeheim and Marek Dolezaj in the lineup, they really will count on knocking down shots and winning the battle of the boards. That is, aside from counting on a big night form their super star Elijah Hughes. Hughes is a 6’6 junior forward who really does it all for the Orange. He’s averaging 19.4 points per game, 5.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists and shooting a very solid 42.4% from the floor. From beyond the arc, he’s just above average, knocking down 35.7%.

What to expect from NC State
The Pack is actually pretty bad against the zone, but the Syracuse zone might not bother them quite as much. The Pack is certainly more athletic than the Orange and I’d argue a lot more physical, but I think the question will be how far Syracuse extends their zone. They’d be making a big mistake to stretch it out like they normally like to do. They’ve always been ok letting that long 2 be a shot opponents can live and die on. However, that might not work against the Pack. CJ Bryce is one of the best in the conference at knocking down that free-throw line jumper and will most definitely be flashing to that spot all night long.

Matchup wise, I think NC State actually matches up real well against Syracuse. Funderburk and Bates are able to match up with Sidibe (6’10 Jr) and Dolezaj (6’10 Jr). Markell has the upper hand against freshman Joseph Girard. Daniels should be able to slow down 6’6 Buddy Boeheim and that leaves Bryce (6’5) matched up against the 6’6 Hughes.

I like all of those matchups for NC State, even Bryce vs Hughes. Hughes is a great scorer, but he’s a little soft and doesn’t like contact. He is a very good shooter, especially inside the arc, but he will be frustrated by long and physical defender like Bryce.

Recent Trends
Syracuse is not playing its best basketball as of late. After a 5 game winning streak (where they upset Virginia and then won 4 games they should have won) they went on to lose two in a row. First, a close one at Notre Dame and then they’re were blown out against Duke at home. While they did defeat last place Wake Forest last time out, it was a tight game that they only won by two.

Meanwhile, NC State won 3, then lost 3 and then most recently went down to Miami and won by 11. If you’re looking at who is trending, I’d probably give the nod to NC State. While their only sign of late-life has been a road win over a lowly Miami team, they do seem to be getting healthy and having all of their pieces back playing at a high level. Bryce had a good 2nd half against Louisville and a very good game at Miami, while Manny Bates finally got back in the mix and was a major factor on both ends of the floor against Miami.

By the numbers…

Syracuse; 74
NC State: 74.3

FG %
Syracuse; 43.8
NC State: 44.5

Syracuse; 34.7
NC State: 31.9

Syracuse; 35.8
NC State: 36

Syracuse; 14.9
NC State: 13.3

Syracuse: 11.3
NC State: 11.5



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