The ACC’s two best teams suffered upsets within 24 hours of each other. No. 5 fell to rival UNC on Thursday night, and No. 1 Syracuse fell to Boston College on Wednesday.
Both teams enter Saturday’s game in Durham on a one-game losing streak, and one will have a two-game losing streak when it’s all over.
When the Duke vs. UNC game was rescheduled for Feb. 20, there was talk about how Duke would be able to handle two big games against a rival and its top competition in the ACC. This loss for the Blue Devils is no big deal for Coach K and his team. Of course, every loss stings a little bit, but it knows a few things going into the Syracuse game, which gives it momentum.
UNC game was on the road. The Duke vs. UNC rivalry is historic, and it’s always a challenge for the Blue Devils to play in Chapel Hill. UNC has had some bad losses, including one against Syracuse, but it’s season actually has not been a huge disappointment. UNC is 19-7 and Duke is 21-6. Duke can easily put this game away and focus on the next one because it knows it lost to a very strong team.
Syracuse lost to BC. The Eagles entered the game 6-19, and beat No. 1 Syracuse (25-0) in the Carrier Dome, which is known for being an extremely difficult place for opposing teams. Duke has to be thinking Syracuse is feeling down about the loss not only because it was at home, but it was against the worst team in the ACC. Knowing the history of Syracuse basketball and its mission each and every season, it has moved on from this loss. Although it has lost a little bit of momentum, it knows it beat Duke on Feb. 1, and it can do it again.
Duke is at home. Duke doesn’t lose at home. Duke’s last loss at Cameron Indoor Stadium was on Feb. 5, 2012 against Miami. The Blue Devils lost by four in overtime. It lost another time at home that season, but the bottom line is that Duke rarely loses at home. The fans will be excited for this game and pumped up to see the top game of the weekend. Cameron Indoor will be LOUD, and it will not be a comfortable site for the Orange.
Duke will want revenge. Duke has been atop the ACC for years before Syracuse arrived on the scene this season. Now that the Orange has a win against the Blue Devilsthis season, Duke will want to come back and show Syracuse that it is still thetop team in the country. There is a lot at stake here and although it’s mainly bragging rights, a loss could be a momentum-killer for the Orange.
Get ready, folks. This is going to be a wild ride in Durham. Syracuse and Duke tipoff Saturday, Feb. 22 at 7:00 p.m. EST.
Posted by: Austin Pollack