For the first time in school history, the Syracuse Orange will take the floor in an ACC tournament game as they take on the North Carolina State Wolfpack.
The Orange, 27-4 (14-4), received a double bye into the tournament’s quarterfinal round, while the Wolfpack, 20-12 (9-9), had to play on the second day of the tournament, defeating Miami 67-58 Thursday night.
The first and only time these two teams played this season, there was some late-game drama provided by C.J. Fair. The Orange were trailing late by one, but a Rakeem Christmas steal led to a Fair layup with under five seconds to go, giving the Orange their 25th win. This was the last game the Orange won before finishing the regular season just 2-4 in their last six games.
The Orange will have their hands full with ACC player of the year T.J. Warren. Warren has played amazing all year for the Wolfpack, scoring 24.8 points per game and grabbing 7.1 rebounds per game, including an ACC-best 3.2 offensive rebounds. He has also been on fire the past three games, as he is averaging 35.7 points over that span, including two 40-point games to finish the regular season. In their first meeting, Warren scored 23 points and grabbed four rebounds.
The Wolfpack defense isn’t great, opponents score 69.9 points against them and shoot 42.2 percent from the field. The Orange, who shot 48 percent in their last game, have broken out of their offensive slump and will look to have their second straight efficient game on the offensive end. On offense, the Wolfpack take care of the ball, averaging only 10.7 turnovers per game. They aren’t a great three-point shooting team, but Ralston Turner can light it up from outside the arc. He scored 13 points in the first meeting and shoots 37 percent from three on the season.
The Pick: The Orange played a lot better against Florida State in their last game and four days off might not have been a bad thing. This is a solid N.C. State team who is looking to play their way into the NCAA tournament, so they are coming in with a lot of motivation, but the Orange also have a lot to prove. They dropped outside of the top ten in both polls for the first time all season this week and nobody seems to be talking about them anymore, but an ACC tournament championship would give them a chance for a one seed. Also, look for Trevor Cooney to break out of his long shooting slump and hit a couple of key threes for the Orange. I think it is close for most of the game, but the Orange get some space at the end and win 65-55.
When: 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, North Carolina