Beat writers all optimistic for Syracuse, predict tight result against Arizona State

first_img Published on March 13, 2018 at 7:26 am Facebook Twitter Google+ Whether Syracuse (20-13, 8-10 Atlantic Coast) was supposed to be here doesn’t matter when the game tips off on Wednesday night. Arizona State (20-11, 8-10 PAC-12) brings its high-flying offense to Dayton, Ohio, to counter the Orange’s strong defense. In a battle of strength versus strength, only one team can make it to the Round of 64.Here’s what our beat writers think will happen.Matthew Gutierrez (26-7)In the zoneSyracuse 70, Arizona State 65Here we go. ASU has struggled all season against zone defenses, including one similar to Syracuse in a 68-64 loss to Mike Hopkins’ Washington Huskies. The Sun Devils took 19 3-pointers in that game, so expect them to try to beat SU from deep. Here’s the sparknotes from my look at that ASU-Washington game last month: If Syracuse’s guards press high around the perimeter, working through high-ball screens, ASU could have trouble working the high post and wings. Look out early in this game for how SU guards defend high screens and how ASU guards look to create off those screens. Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley admitted in January that he hadn’t quite figured out ways to attack zones and matchup defenses. Further, the Sun Devils will want to play up-tempo. They’ll want to mimic how North Carolina beat SU up the floor last week. That’s the best way to beat a solid 2-3 zone, but can ASU execute that plan? Should Syracuse score enough against ASU’s mediocre defense, the odds tilt slightly in SU’s favor.Sam Fortier (23-10)Devil Went Down in DaytonSyracuse 60, Arizona State 58AdvertisementThis is placeholder textEven if Bobby Hurley watched North Carolina’s bullying of Syracuse down-low on Wednesday, I’m not sure Arizona State has the personnel to replicate that performance. It certainly was one of the most effective strategies we’ve seen this season to beat the Orange, but the Sun Devils mainly attack via the jumper, so we shouldn’t see Paschal Chukwu fouling out in 15 minutes again. Syracuse will need to stick to its game plan predicating all its success this season: defense. The Orange has the credentials to prove it can strap down even the most high-flying offenses, and that’ll be tested against the chuck-it Sun Devils, but Syracuse has an edge because ASU has struggled against the 2-3 zone scheme all season and the two teams play at a neutral court. Even if the Orange doesn’t get The Marek Dolezaj Game: The Sequel, even if Oshae Brissett searches for his shot for a little, even if it goes five-and-a-half players deep with Bourama Sidibe making spot appearances, Jim Boeheim has demonstrated he can finagle these things into a win.Tomer Langer (23-10)Dancing with the (Sun) DevilsSyracuse 68, Arizona State 64Syracuse and Arizona State are polar opposites in styles of play, Syracuse a defensive stalwart and ASU an offensive firepower. Both teams also had greats starts before falling off in conference play. Syracuse usually does a good job with teams that aren’t familiar with its zone, and the Orange has shown that it can generate it enough offense when it has a few days off to rest up, like it did against Boston College. This should be a close one, but give me the better defense in this game. Commentslast_img

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