Syracuse Game Day Preview: NC State

 

 

 

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – JANUARY 20: Chase Graham #2 celebrates with Markell Johnson #11 and Braxton Beverly #10 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack after the end of a game against the Virginia Cavaliers at John Paul Jones Arena on January 20, 2020 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images)

 

After surviving a near disastrous loss against Wake Forest, the Orange hit the court again this evening for a crucial ACC matchup against the North Carolina State Wolfpack. It can’t be stated just how important this game is for the Orange. While NC State isn’t a top of the ACC, the Wolfpack are right behind the Orange and control for 5th place in the ACC is on the line tonight. So let’s get to know the Wolfpack.

NC State Season So Far

The Wolfpack season has been a roller coaster to say the least. NC State is 15-8 overall and 6-6 in ACC play. They started the season strong with an 8-2 record with a notable win over Wisconsin. But since then the Wolfpack have gone 7-6 and 5-5 in ACC play. The Wolfpack have lost three of their last five games and they are as desperate for a win as Syracuse is tonight. According to the latest bracket matrixneither the Orange or Wolfpack show up. A win for either team is crucial to have a chance of playing in March.

Top Players To Watch For

The Wolfpack come to the Dome with an offense that can do damage. NC State is 5th in the ACC for scoring as they average 74.3 points per game, just above Syracuse who averages 74.0 points per game. Defense is the team’s weak point as they allow 68.9 points per game which ranks 12th in the ACC.

The Wolfpack are led by a strong backcourt with senior guards CJ Bryce and Markell Johnson who combine to average 26.9 points per game which accounts for 57% of NC State’s total offense. In the low post the Orange will have to defend junior forward DJ Funderburk who is averaging 12.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.

Prediction

It’s almost creepy how similar these two teams are to one another. They generate the same amount of points per game, defensive stats are very similar, player scoring you name it. It’s no wonder both teams are right to next to each other in the ACC standings. Both teams needs this win badly, but the Orange I believe will do just enough to win. There are obvious fears about if Sidibe and Dolezaj can stay in the game, but the Wolfpack don’t present that big of threat down low as Wake Forest did. Watch for guys like Buddy Boeheim and Joe Girard to take advantage in the paint and be the difference maker in this one.

Final Score: Syracuse 76, NC State 72

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