(Updated on 2/28 at 1:50 p.m.)
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse basketball (16-12, 9-8 ACC) seeks a third straight win when the Orange host the North Carolina Tar Heels (11-17, 4-13 ACC) on Saturday afternoon.
The game is slated to tip off at 4 p.m. at the Carrier Dome and will be televised nationally on ESPN. Doug Sherman and Corey Alexander will be on the call.
Syracuse (No. 59 in the NCAA’s NET Ratings) enters the contest with a two-game winning streak. The Orange scored an easy 72-49 win at Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, which followed Syracuse’s 79-72 home conquest of Georgia Tech last Saturday. In beating the Panthers, the Orange were led by small forward Elijah Hughes, who scored 25 points and grabbed 9 rebounds. Point guard Joe Girard III added 16 points and center Bourama Sidibe posted 13 points, 10 rebounds, 5 steals, and 4 blocks. Their stellar play allowed Syracuse to overcome an ankle injury to shooting guard Buddy Boeheim, which ended his night early after he played just 14 minutes and failed to score.
North Carolina (No. 95 in NET) comes into Saturday fresh off an 85-79 home win over NC State on Tuesday night. That snapped a seven-game Tar Heels losing streak. Forward Garrison Brooks had 30 points and 9 rebounds, while star freshman guard Cole Anthony scored 19 points and chipped in 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
UNC is having its worst season since 2002 as the team has been hit hard by injuries and adversity. The Heels are a lot more talented than their record would otherwise indicate. Anthony, a McDonald’s All American coming out of high school, is a projected lottery pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Brooks and center Armando Bacot, who also was a McDonald’s All American, are also considered NBA prospects.
Saturday’s contest is the 17th all-time meeting between Syracuse and North Carolina, with the Tar Heels leading the series 12-4. UNC has won its last eight games against the Orange, with an average victory margin of more than 11 points.
ESPN’s College Basketball Power Index (BPI) gives Syracuse a 76 percent chance of beating North Carolina this time. The projected point differential is 7.8 points. The sports analytics website TeamRankings.com says the Orange have a 64.2 percent chance of winning the game.
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