Syracuse started ACC play (and ended 2017) on a high note with a dominant and convincing win over Virginia Tech. Now the Orange hit the road for the first time in conference play and the first time in almost a month. The Orange have only played one true road game this season and it was the come from behind victory of Georgetown. Syracuse will surely be hoping for similar success in Winston-Salem. Here is what you need to know before the Orange and Demon Deacons tip off.
Prime-Time Showdown: For the second straight game, you can watch the Orange on national TV on ESPN U. Tip off is set for 7pm. This is a big game for the Orange for several reasons. The first is that Wake, in theory, could be a bubble team. If the Orange want to make the NCAA tournament beating middle of the road ACC teams could be a huge boost to their resume (and a negative on the resume of the opponent). Also, Syracuse’s schedule takes a less than friendly turn after Wednesday with games against Notre Dame, Virginia and Florida State on the docket.
Orange Streakin’: Syracuse is looking to pick up its third straight win and the Deacs are hoping to avoid losing their third straight game. Syracuse has never lost to Wake Forest, beating them five total times and four times since joining the ACC for the 2013-14 season. The Orange knocked off Wake 81-76 at the Dome last season and 83-55 in 2016, which was the last time they made the trip to LJVM Coliseum.
Who’s Hot?: Unsurprisingly, Canadian Freshman Oshae Brissett is making this list. Brissett is one tenth of a rebound per game away from averaging a double-double (15.5 ppg, 9.9 rpg). He has, undoubtedly, been Syracuse’s best player over the past few weeks, and has only been getting better as the season has gone on. The Deacs set up a little differently than the Orange. They have nine players who play, on average, more than ten minutes per game. Their “best player” seems to vary from game to game but their top scorer is Keyshawn Woods. Another player to keep an eye on any time that the Orange play is the opponent’s top three point shooter. In this case, senior guard Mitchell Wilbekin hits almost 46% of his shots from beyond the arc.
What are the Experts Saying: Believe it or not, Syracuse is an underdog. Fair or not, the Orange opened as a two point dog on the road against the team that, to be fair, is coming off a very strong showing in Chapel Hill, pushing North Carolina for forty minutes. ESPN’s Basketball Power Index calls the game close to a toss-up with the Orange having a 44.8% chance of escaping Winston-Salem with a road win.