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JEFF ALLEN GAME PREVIEW: SYRACUSE vs. NORTH CAROLINA

JEFF ALLEN GAME PREVIEW: SYRACUSE vs. NORTH CAROLINA

The Syracuse Orangemen (23-13) and the North Carolina Tar Heels (32-6) will throw it up for a third time in
2016 when they meet in the other half of the NCAAB Championship Tournament Semifinals Saturday in Houston.
North Carolina (-7.5, 153) won 84-73 at the Carrier Dome in a game they trailed by six with 8:00 minutes left.
The Tar Heels (-12.5, 146) also won at Chapel Hill 75-70 on February 29th in a game that saw UNC up just
38-34 at the half. The game opened at North Carolina -9 and 147 1/2. The line is now Heels -9.5 with the over/
under dropping to 145 1/2 at this writing.

Syracuse is the team that “didn’t belong in the tournament” and has been the beneficiary of upsets (Michigan
State) along the way but after their amazing comeback win over Virginia in the regional finals, you just cannot
discount their four wins to get to this point. Malachi Richardson (13.3, 4.3, 2.2) virtually willed the Orange to victory
vs. the Cavs with a monster second half on both ends of the court. Michael Gbinije (17.6, 4.1, 4.4) is a 6’7″
swingman that shoots almost 40% from three and is the Orange’s true scorer. Trevor Cooney  (12.7, 2.5, 2.4)
is the man that even the Syracuse fans love to have but at the end of he day you can count on him for 36 minutes
and double-digit points.

UNC is without question the most talented team in the field and arguably in the country. Like John Calipari at
Kentucky, Roy Williams just seems to roll out team after team manned by 5* Blue Chip after 5* Blue Chip. The
Tar Heels have four players averaging better than 12 points-per-game headed up by Brice Johnson (17.1, 10.1
1.5) while PG  Marcus Paige (12.3, 2.5, 3.4) is the other name that generally gets the pub. The Heels have a deep
bench and Williams can call upon a specialist role player for whatever situation is warranted. The team is one of
the top rebounding outfits in the country and Syracuse will need to take advantage of every opportunity and keep
the Blue off the offensive glass.

These teams are no strangers and regarding the three times in a year debate, since 1987 in games where two
teams from the same conference meet in the national semis, the favorite is 3-1. North Carolina is the better team
and should win but …. Virginia was the better team and up double-digits with less than 10 minutes to play and
didn’t win. There is one probable scenario where Syracuse could win straight up and that would be for the Heels
to not be able to shoot over the Orange zone. North Carolina did win both conference games but converted on just
9-44 attempts from beyond the arc. Other than an 11-20 outside game vs. Indiana, the Tar Heels have shot less than
33% from long range in their other four tournament games. There is also the Boeheim factor.  Regardless of the
outcome this figures to be a very interesting game to watch. North Carolina should win but probably not as easily
as anticipated. Look for “The Cuse” to hang around in a lower scoring game (by Carolina standards) and we’ll see
if UNC can extend late and cover the number.

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