Beat writers predict close game for Syracuse against No. 10 North Carolina

first_img Published on February 20, 2018 at 4:21 pm Syracuse (18-9, 7-7 Atlantic Coast) hosts No. 10 North Carolina (21-7, 10-5) on Wednesday night in the Carrier Dome. Syracuse enters the game following its 62-55 win at Miami. UNC has won each of its last five contests prior to the meeting in the Dome. Prior to Wednesday’s game Syracuse is without a win against a Top-10 opponent thus far this season, a feat it has accomplished each season since the 2004-05 season.Here is how our beat writers think the game plays out.Matthew Gutierrez (22-5)Sweet CarolineNorth Carolina 71, Syracuse 61Make no mistake: Syracuse could pull off the upset at home, which would go a long way toward fighting into the bracket. But the Tar Heels are rolling, coming off consecutive wins over Duke, North Carolina State, Notre Dame and Louisville (by 17). They are shooting the ball well, rebounding and playing scrappy defense. They can run with their bigs and crash glass, or they can go small and utilize the fast break to speed up the game. That’s potent. And it’s worth noting that all five of their starters are veterans with solid experience, either juniors or seniors.Sam Fortier (19-8)Carolina bluesNorth Carolina 79, Syracuse 74AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe most fun part of this matchup will be UNC’s offense against Syracuse’s defense. Two of the best units in the country square off in a game that would be huge for the Orange to win but one it won’t be able to. SU won’t pull the upset because the Tar Heels are reloaded with another crop of thick, 6-foot-6 to 6-foot-8 athletic guys who can crash the offensive glass, where UNC ranks second this season in rebounding rate (38.9), per Kenpom.com. Roy Williams’ squad beefing up inside is as predictable as the 2-3 zone, and just the same as Boeheim’s signature scheme, it’s easier to talk about than to solve. In further intimidating optimistic Orange fans, Boeheim recently praised the Tar Heels’ size and aggression on the offensive boards. “They’re playing as well right now as they’ve played all year,” Boeheim said of UNC. OK, that’s good enough. I’m taking Carolina.Tomer Langer (18-9)Welcome to the ShowNorth Carolina 82, Syracuse 70This Orange team over the last few months has been tough to figure out. It dropped a game at Georgia Tech, a bottom-four team in the ACC, but then came back to win at Louisville. It struggled to put away a weak Wake Forest team in a win, dropped a game on its home floor to North Carolina State — a team that is ranked very closely to Syracuse per Kenpom — then it goes and beats a higher-rated Miami team on the road. So, anything is possible in this game. But UNC is part of a higher tier than any of those other teams and might be the hottest team in the country right now. Its bevy of scoring options is legit, and N.C. State already proved that a fantastic offense can find holes against the Orange’s typically solid defense. Syracuse’s defense is solid, but this feels like one of those games that even if SU does manage to get stops, UNC will end up with some second opportunities. Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Commentslast_img read more


Real Madrid offer Vilanova support

first_imgReal Madrid have released a statement giving their full support to Tito Vilanova in the aftermath of reports he has developed a cancerous tumour.The 44-year-old had an operation on a salivary gland last November, but it is believed the problem has now returned and the Spanish champions have offered their backing to the coach of their fiercest rivals.“Real Madrid want to express their support, love and affection to Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova and hope that he makes quickest recovery,” read the statement on the club’s official website.“The Real Madrid C. F. extends this support to your club and your family.”Barca have yet to officially validate the reports, but the Catalan club have closed Wednesday’s training session to the media.The Blaugrana top La Liga after taking 46 points from a possible 48 – the best start made by any Spanish side in Primera Division history.last_img read more