Duke vs. Syracuse Prediction, Game Preview

    Duke vs. Syracuse prediction and game preview. The Blue Devils are looking to win their eighth straight game, while the Orange look to avoid a fourth loss in a row.

    February 21, 2017

    Duke vs. Syracuse prediction and game preview. The Blue Devils are looking to win their eighth straight game, while the Orange look to avoid a fourth loss in a row.

    Duke vs. Syracuse Game Preview

    When: Wednesday, Feb. 22 – 7:00 p.m. ET
    Where: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY
    TV Broadcast: ESPN

    Mike Krzyzewski and the No. 10 Blue Devils (22-5, 10-4 ACC) are coming off of a close win over a Wake Forest team that could not break its long losing streak against its in-state ACC foe. Despite another standout game from star big man John Collins, who had a career-best 31 points and added 15 rebounds, the Demon Deacons have still not won at Cameron Indoor Stadium since Tim Duncan was a senior. The Blue Devils claimed a 99-94 victory this past Saturday for their seventh straight win. Luke Kennard scored 23 points, freshman Jayson Tatum added 19 and Amile Jefferson had 16 for the Blue Devils, who shot 59 percent from the floor as well as connecting on 13 3-pointers.

    Meanwhile, Jim Boeheim’s Orange (16-12, 8-7) had no answer for how to contain Georgia Tech big man Ben Lammers on Sunday night, as he scored 23 points en route to the Yellow Jackets holding on for a 71-65 win. Lammers dominated on both ends of the floor, as he added seven blocks, and Syracuse missed 15 of its first 17 shots in the second half to help put itself in a 13-point deficit.

    When these teams last met in January 2016 in Durham, Syracuse’s Tyler Roberson had 14 points and a career-high 20 rebounds in a 64-62 win. Roberson set the arena record for boards by a visitor, breaking the previous mark of 18 set in 1957 and matched by North Carolina’s Sean May in 2005. This game will be historic because two head coaches with 1,000 career wins will be facing each other for the first time in NCAA Division I men’s basketball history.

    Duke Wins If …

    … The Blue Devils continue to get excellent play from Tatum, who scored a career-high 28 points and connected on six 3-pointers in the win at Virginia last week. Tatum followed that up with three more 3’s in the team’s close win over Wake Forest, and he’s been able to give the Blue Devils both a post and perimeter presence. He has provided Coach K with a very good No. 3 option behind leading scorers Kennard and Grayson Allen.

    As a whole, Duke still has its defensive issues, as it showed when it essentially traded baskets with Wake Forest before getting a few late defensive stops. But the scoring options are plentiful, and it’s a team that still has a very high ceiling.

    Syracuse Wins If …

    … The Orange receive a much better performance from fifth-year senior transfer John Gillon. The point guard struggled mightily in the loss to Georgia Tech, as he endured one of his worst shooting nights of the season. The offense looked more fluid when backup Frank Howard was on the floor, which was encouraging considering he has struggled for a good portion of the season. But Howard has put together a few solid performances now in a row. Still, Boeheim believes that Gillon is his best option, so he will need to be at his best against the Blue Devils.

    Syracuse is 14-3 at the Carrier Dome this year, and a win over Duke would really bolster its NCAA Tournament résumé. Senior guard Andrew White III has scored in double figures in every game this season except one: the St. John’s 33-point loss. If he can be the best player on the floor on Wednesday night, ‘Cuse has a fighting chance.

    Matchup To Watch

    Gillon vs. Allen

    Gillon isn’t the prototypical point guard that Boeheim has recruited in the past, and he knows he has to play better than he did in the loss to Georgia Tech. But he has been the best option at the position this season for the Orange, so Boeheim desperately needs him to provide a better performance than the seven-point, five-turnover effort in Atlanta. He needs to be more aggressive, which is how Allen has played during Duke’s win streak. Whichever team has the better guard play will win this game.

    Betting Odds

    Spread: Duke -4.5
    Over/Under: No line as of post

    Duke vs. Syracuse Prediction

    The Orange desperately need a win to improve its tourney résumé. Too much Tatum and Jefferson will take some scoring pressure off of Kennard and Allen, though, as the Orange are unable to deliver Boeheim a much-needed win.

    Duke vs. Syracuse final score prediction: Duke 76, Syracuse 69

    MORE: Wake Forest’s John Collins Is Country’s Least-Heralded Star


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