Syracuse won’t know how far it drops in the national rankings until noon on Monday but where the Orange sits will be the last thing on the mind of the team with a quick turn-around from the weekend. The former #1 will certainly fall at least one spot after two consecutive losses at home to Boston College and on the road to Duke. Now, SU must stop the bleeding at Maryland against a well-rested Terrapin team that had the weekend off. The Orange is a slight 3.5-point favorite ahead of Monday’s tilt.
Saturday’s six-point loss at Duke was a tough one to swallow for anyone associated with Syracuse Basketball. The Orange was denied a chance to take the lead in the final 30 seconds after CJ Fair was called for a charging foul that Jim Boeheim had a hard time agreeing with. Boeheim got the toss and the double technical resulted in four free throws for Duke, which iced the game.
Now, Syracuse travels to Maryland without any real time to make adjustments following its second ACC loss in a row. The Terrapins have had six days to prepare since their last game (a home win against Wake Forest) and have been enjoying the home cooking in ACC play. Maryland has lost just one home game in the ACC – a four-point loss to Pittsburgh. The Terps have the offensive prowess to give Syracuse some trouble in this one. Five double-digit scorers and a team that shoots about 35 percent from downtown will be ready to attack a Syracuse zone that has shown some weakness down the stretch of a brutal ACC season.
This is a big-time judgement game for Syracuse, though. And it would surprise me not to see this team come out blazing on both ends of the floor. The Jim Boeheim tirade will have this team fired up to not only snap this mini two-game losing streak but to take it to the Terps on both ends of the floor. After abysmal shooting performances in the Duke game, look for Tyler Ennis and Trevor Cooney to be more efficient from the floor and for the ‘Cuse to force many Maryland three’s. As long as Maryland isn’t making it rain from deep, Syracuse should be able to hold on and win a pretty tightly contested game. Hope that free-throws at the end can push the margin of victory to four or more.
Free Pick: Syracuse -3.5