This is a game Syracuse should win. NC State (7-5) isn’t all that strong of a team. The Wolfpack’s most notable loss this season came against UNC, in which they fell 105-73. That loss really speaks to their poor defense, which currently ranks 198th in the country in terms of points allowed per game. With that being said here’s what you need to know about SU’s next opponent:
Devon Daniels is Injured:
The leader of this NC State squad is surely Devon Daniels. The senior guard torched SU for 23 points in a win last season when these teams met. Daniels can do it all on the offensive end, and was doing so until he got hurt against Wake Forest last time out. The 6’5” 200 lbs guard notched 20 points before collapsing to the floor grasping his left leg. Obviously, we all hope he’s ok going forward, but his absence absolutely changes this matchup between the Orange and Wolfpack. As of now it’s not certain what his diagnosis will be, and we’re still without a timetable for his return. If he misses Sunday’s matchup in the Carrier Dome, it looks like Syracuse could cruise to a victory.
They’ve Got the Size:
As we all know Marek Dolezaj has struggled at times this season defending bigs. He was shoved into a role he tries his best in, but guys like Jay Huff of Virginia are able to take advantage of him. NC State sports two bigs that will definitely have their eyes on Marek. DJ Funderburk (6’10) and Manny Bates (6’11’) both have about 30 lbs on the Slovakian. Maybe this is a game in which Coach Boeheim throws Jesse Edwards in the middle to relieve Dolezaj. We know he can play, the Dutch big showed us just that against Miami.
This isn’t the Best Matchup for the 2-3 Zone:
SU’s patented 2-3 zone forces the opponent to take shots behind the arc. When the opponent can make their threes it doesn’t usually bode well for the Orange, exhibit A being their most recent loss to the Cavaliers. Unfortunately for SU, Kevin Keatts’ squad has been lights out from behind the arc this season. They don’t usually take a whole lot of them, but when they do they go in. This year the Wolfpack rank 46th in the nation in terms of 3-point percentage. If Syracuse can counter NC State’s shooting with solid defense and scoring of its own, of course the Orange will cruise to a victory, and they should.
While Syracuse is by far the better team on paper, the matchups are clearly in the favor of the Wolfpack. A combination of shooting and size often proves problematic for Boeheim’s squad. NC State is coming off a close win over Wake Forest while Syracuse will try to bounce back after a loss to one of the nation’s top teams. The game is Sunday January 31st.