North Carolina (22-9, 11-7 ACC) vs Syracuse (20-12, 9-10 ACC)
Brooklyn, N.Y. – Barclays Center
Wednesday, 9:30 p.m. ET
The Syracuse Orangemen beat Wake Forest in the first round of the ACC Tournament to advance to today’s game against North Carolina. The Orangemen were led on Tuesday night by Tyus Battle (18 points), Marek Dolezaj (20 points), Frank Howard (11 points), Paschal Chukwu (14 points) and Oshae Brissett (10 points). Freshman Marek Dolezaj was the pivotal player of the game and a big game Wednesday night would go along way in Syracuse’s dreams of an NCAA Tournament bid.
The North Carolina Tar Heels had a first-round bye in the tournament and have had a very inconsistent season. That inconsistency reared it’s ugly head last week in a home loss to Miami and a road loss to Duke. Theo Pinson and Joe Berry were the keys in North Carolina’s 78-74 win over Syracuse earlier in the season and they will most assuredly hold the key again in this game.
Projected UNC Starters:
2 Joel Berry (6-0, 195, Sr.) – 17.8 ppg, 3.2 apg
1 Theo Pinson (6-6, 220, Sr.) – 9.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 4.7 apg
32 Luke Maye (6-8, 240, Jr.) – 17.7 ppg, 10.1 rpg
24 Kenny Williams (6-4, 185, Jr.) – 11.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg
13 Cameron Johnson (6-8, 210, Gr.) – 13.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg
Projected Syracuse Starters:
25 Tyus Battle (6-6, 205, So.) – 20.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg
23 Frank Howard (6-5, 205, Jr.) – 15.2 ppg, 5.0 apg
11 Oshae Brissett (6-8, 210, Fr.) – 14.7 ppg, 8.7 rpg
13 Paschal Chukwu (7-2, 228, Jr.) – 5.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg
21 Marek Dolezaj (6-9, 180, Fr.) – 4.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg
Prediction: I look for the Orangemen to come out hot. They already have a game under their belt in this tournament. The Tar Heels will be a steady force and in the end, I look for Theo Pinson to have a huge game which will thwart an inspired Syracuse effort and will send the Orangemen home and probably into the NIT tournament.
UNC 79 Syracuse 72.
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