Orange Fizz


Should Syracuse Fans Have Reason To Worry About NC State?

Photo Courtesy of SU Athletics

For the third time this season, Syracuse and NC State will square off this evening, but this matchup will look a little different. This clash will be at a neutral site of Capital One Arena in Washington, DC, no trips to Syracuse or Raleigh for either side. And the stakes this time around are much higher. The winner of this contest moves on to face Duke in the ACC Tournament Quarterfinals, the loser heads home (or maybe to the NIT if they’re lucky).

The first matchup between the two took place inside the Dome on January 27, when Wolfpack Head Coach Kevin Keatts did not start 6-9, 275 LB big man DJ Burns, one of his most prominent players. It was a relatively uneventful game for the most part as the Orange took care of business 77-65. JJ Starling tallied 26 points on 9-17 shooting while Judah Mintz added 20 in large part thanks to a 14-18 performance from the charity stripe.

SU and NC State renewed acquaintances three and a half weeks later at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, and boy was it an eventful contest. The Orange built a 15-point halftime lead behind Chris Bell’s eight first half three pointers, but he made zero in the second as the Wolfpack rallied to grab a one-point edge with three minutes to go. But Syracuse ended the game on a 6-1 run to secure an 87-83 victory, beating NC State for the seventh straight time.

If you want more reason to feel good about tonight, the Wolfpack could be down a key piece tonight. Guard DJ Horne burned the Orange for 32 points while shooting 6-10 from distance the last time they met, and he had 15 in the first meeting. But Horne went down with a hip injury in NC State’s final regular season game against Pittsburgh on Saturday and missed the win over Louisville yesterday. Keatts said after yesterday’s game that he’ll be a game-time decision. Either way, whether he plays or not could be a game-changing call.

All signs point toward a Syracuse victory tonight. Matchup history, a recent rest advantage, and seeding seemingly play in the Orange’s favor. But understand this before the game tips off. It is remarkably difficult to beat a team three times in a single season at any level of basketball, especially when it’s an inter-conference foe. This is not a declaration that SU will lose, but expect NC State to come into tonight hungry, especially after the game in Raleigh.

It shouldn’t necessarily be a worrisome affair for Orange fans tonight, but it won’t be a boring game by any measure. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 o’clock tonight, follow along @OrangeFizz on X for updates throughout tonight and the rest of the ACC Tournament.

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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