Coming off a blowout win against Wake Forest, the Orange travel to Durham, North Carolina to square off against the Duke Blue Devils. This ACC showdown is one of the most anticipated games of the year for Syracuse and is always surrounded with excitement. After a rough start to conference play (2-4), Syracuse is trying to get things back on track. The #9 ranked Blue Devils are coming off two disappointing losses against Clemson and Notre Dame but will still prove to be a difficult opponent. This game should be close, with a handful key factors deciding the victor.
Cameron Indoor Stadium is one of the most insane environments in all of college basketball. The students that pack the stadium every game aren’t called “The Crazies” for nothing. They are the most passionate fan base in all of college basketball and it has an effect on opposing teams. This proved to be an issue for the Orange as they were blown out when they visited Cameron Indoor last season. The Orange need to keep their composure under this intense environment if they want to have a chance to win.
I would be an understatement to say that Syracuse has struggled down low this season. Both DaJuan Coleman and Tyler Lydon haven’t fully lived up to their preseason expectations. They haven’t been terrible, but they have been severely underplaying their potential. Coleman has started to pick up defensively but it may not be enough. The weak Orange frontcourt will face off against surging freshman forward Brandon Ingram. Ingram has proven to be one of the best big men in the league so he will be a tough matchup against the struggling Orange forwards.
Both Syracuse and Duke are proficient from three so this will be a close one. Grayson Allen and Brandon Ingram can both be dangerous from behind the arc for Duke so the Orange will need to shut them down on the perimeter. Trevor Cooney has been shooting the lights out from three as of late, knocking down 44% over the last three games. The key, however, will be the outside shooting of Michael Gbinije. Gbinije was the early season hero for the Orange, averaging around 20 points per game and hitting around 40% of his threes. However, he has recently hit a rough patch. Over his last three games Gbinije has only made 1 of 12 three point attempts. If he gets back to the way he was shooting earlier in the season, Syracuse will keep this game close.
Both Jim Boeheim and Mike Krzyzewski are incredible coaches who are capable of leading their respective teams to victory. It will be a well fought battle against Krzyzewski’s high powered offense and Boeheim’s iconic 2-3 zone. This one is too close to call.
Final Prediction: Syracuse 65 Duke 80
Chris Broderick ’18