With less than two days until Syracuse meets Duke in the Sweet 16, everyone has the same question on their mind: can SU get it done? Well, if the last time these teams met is any indication, it‚Äôs not likely.
Points. That‚Äôs what the Orange needs to beat the Blue Devils. Can they get enough of them? That‚Äôs what we‚Äôre so excited to find out on Friday.
For an answer to that and more, the Fizz talked with ESPN College Basketball analyst Jay Bilas to preview the matchup.
Orange Fizz: What did you see in the matchup in February that we could see again on Friday?
Jay Bilas: I don‚Äôt know that that game will necessarily play into this one. I think Syracuse is going to have a hard time scoring enough points. I don‚Äôt think their defense is going to be an issue, I think their defense is very good. Duke‚Äôs defense is very good. I think it‚Äôs the Syracuse offense that‚Äôs going to be an issue‚Ä¶ Duke‚Äôs going to put some points on the board. I don‚Äôt think you‚Äôre going to see them do what Michigan State did and shoot thirty percent, or under that, and not be able to capitalize on the number of offensive rebounds they get. Duke‚Äôs a really good rebounding team, they‚Äôre up there with Michigan State as far as rebounding prowess. In fact, I think they may be a little bit better rebounding team than Michigan State. They‚Äôre also way better offensively at attacking the zone of the dribble, and that‚Äôs one of the more debilitating things against the zone, is dribble penetration into the gaps of the zone, I think you‚Äôll see Duke do quite a bit of that.
OF: Is SU‚Äôs defense and team good enough to continue its run this weekend and maybe even all the way to San Antonio?
JB: Are they good enough? It‚Äôs possible, but the answer would be no, they‚Äôre not, but it doesn‚Äôt stop them from pulling upsets. I didn‚Äôt think they were good enough to do it 2016 either, but they did. But they‚Äôre going to have to shoot it significantly better than they‚Äôve shot it. Against the teams that are coming up, so Duke, who I think is one of the two best teams in the country, along with Villanova and then what is likely to be, but you don‚Äôt know, Kansas, those are formidable teams. Kansas shoots it really well and they‚Äôve got really good guards, so I would favor Duke in the game and, frankly, ¬†I‚Äôd favor them by double digits. But, Michigan state is better… you can argue Michigan State should have won‚Ä¶ (Syracuse) won by scoring 55 points, that‚Äôs pretty impressive. I wouldn‚Äôt expect winning scoring 55 points against Duke.
OF: How do you see it playing out on Friday? Who is going to win and by how many points?
JB: I think Duke is a double-digit favorite in the game. I think they‚Äôre so much better offensively that it‚Äôs going to be hard for the Syracuse defense to hold them down. And Syracuse is not a great offensive team. Syracuse gave up a ton of offensive rebounds against Michigan State‚Ä¶ it ultimately didn‚Äôt hurt them, at least didn‚Äôt kill ‚Äòem. I don‚Äôt think they can do that again and hope to win against Duke.