Beat writers predict Syracuse-North Carolina matchup

first_img Comments No. 4-seed Syracuse (9-3, 2-2 Atlantic Coast) matches up with No. 5-seed North Carolina (7-6, 1-3) for the second time this season in the play-in round of the ACC tournament on Thursday in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Orange are coming off a regular-season ending win over Navy, where SU dominated the Midshipmen in every facet. UNC is in the midst of a three-game losing streak.Here are the beat writers’ picks for the game Thursday.Michael McCleary (9-3)Playoffs?!Syracuse 15, North Carolina 11North Carolina can take its “home-field advantage” somewhere else. Syracuse probably shouldn’t have been the No. 4 seed. Yes, the ACC is good, and the seeding is directly correlated with conference record, but the Orange should’ve won both of their conference losses. SU blew it at the end of the Virginia game and it started at a season-worst pace against Notre Dame. Sure, maybe the Orange shouldn’t have won the Duke game, but they did. And they showed for at least a quarter that they were better than the Blue Devils. All of that adds up to this: No. 4 Syracuse is much better than No. 5 North Carolina, a team SU’s already beaten. And it will beat them again. See you Saturday.Andrew Graham (8-4)Long weekendSyracuse 15, North Carolina 12AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMiss me with any maxims about “beating the same team twice,” and blah, blah, blah. Syracuse is the better team and on Thursday, that’ll show. Yes, the Orange haven’t won an ACC Tournament game since winning the championship against Duke in 2016. But since handling the Tar Heels, 12-9, more than a week ago, SU’s only looked stronger, burying Navy on Saturday while North Carolina lost at Notre Dame. We saw in SU’s game against UNC how the Orange’s methodical offense starved the Tar Heels’ attack while compiling a sturdy lead. The defense turned it on and smothered offensive chances while Danny Varello dominated at the faceoff-X. The gap between these teams is slim, but it’s easily enough for Syracuse to spend a few extra days in Chapel Hill.Nick Alvarez (7-5)Heel TurnSyracuse 13, North Carolina 9There’s no reason to think that this game won’t turn out exactly like the last one did. Syracuse’s confidence-boosting rout over Navy and North Carolina’s close loss to Notre Dame further sent each squad in different directions. SU is the No. 7 team in the nation and top-five in RPI. A breakdown against Virginia or a better start against UND is the only thing preventing SU from avoiding the No. 4-seed and a play-in game all together. The Orange defense has only faltered once since late-March and the Tar Heels don’t have the firepower to reverse that trend. With all of SU’s top-line attack streaking paired with Drake Porter’s consistency, the Orange should set up a rematch with Virginia on Saturday. Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on April 22, 2019 at 11:56 pmlast_img

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