How to watch Syracuse basketball vs. No. 3 North Carolina in rematch of January debacle

Syracuse basketball got crushed by No. 3 North Carolina last month on the road, and now 'Cuse will get a rematch at the Dome.
Syracuse basketball got crushed by No. 3 North Carolina last month on the road, and now 'Cuse will get a rematch at the Dome. / Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse basketball, on Tuesday night, will wrap up a current three-game home stand when the Orange hosts No. 3 North Carolina in Central New York.

This past week, the 'Cuse went 1-1. The Orange defeated Louisville by two points but then lost to Clemson by nine points over the weekend, as former SU guard Joe Girard III torched the Syracuse basketball defense.

At this point in the 2023-24 season, the 'Cuse (15-9, 6-7 in the ACC) is not anywhere close to being a significant contender for an invite to this spring's Big Dance. The Tar Heels (19-5, 11-2 in the ACC), meanwhile, are vying for an Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title, as well as a No. 1 or a No. 2 seed in the 2024 NCAA Tournament.

While Tuesday evening's league affair is on the Hill, where the Orange has only lost twice so far in 2023-24, the 'Cuse faces a huge challenging in trying to knock off UNC, a group that crushed SU last month and has owned the Orange lately.

How to watch Syracuse basketball hosting No. 3 North Carolina.

The Tar Heels and the 'Cuse will do battle beginning at 7 pm on Tuesday, Feb. 13, with television coverage on ESPN. Coverage may also be available on fuboTV.

This ACC collision is another quadrant-one opportunity for Syracuse basketball, similar to last Saturday afternoon's home meeting versus Clemson. When I wrote this article, North Carolina had an NCAA NET ranking of No. 10, as compared to No. 91 for the Orange.

Back on January 13 in Chapel Hill, N.C., UNC handed the 'Cuse its worst-ever league setback since joining the ACC in 2013-14, as the Tar Heels prevailed in dominating fashion by a final score of 103-67.

In that awful loss for the Orange, North Carolina manhandled Syracuse basketball on the glass, in second-chance points, in paint points and in fast-break points, among other things.

Therein lies my main concern as the 'Cuse attempts to spring a huge upset on Tuesday night. The Syracuse basketball position group of power forwards and centers, at this juncture, is pretty darn thin.

Junior center Naheem McLeod is out for the season, junior forward Benny Williams is no longer with the program, freshman center William Patterson is expected to take a redshirt, junior center Mounir Hima barely plays, and sophomore center Peter Carey didn't suit up versus Clemson due to an upper-body injury that he suffered at a recent practice.

That puts a ton of pressure on sophomore power forward/center Maliq Brown. To make matters worse, two of North Carolina's best players include graduate student power forward/center Armando Bacot, along with senior guard RJ Davis, who leads the ACC in scoring at 21.5 points per game.

The 6-foot-11, 240-pound Bacot is averaging 14.2 points and a conference-leading 10.3 rebounds per contest, while shooting 55.0 percent from the field. It's a tall task for Brown to contain Bacot, especially if the Orange doesn't have a lot of options behind Brown to serve in a back-up capacity at the center spot.

This past Saturday, UNC scored a three-point road win over Miami, although last Tuesday, the Tar Heels lost at home by four points to Clemson. North Carolina did, recently, defeat long-time rival Duke in Chapel Hill, and UNC's post-season resume features multiple other high-quality triumphs.

North Carolina is currently the highest-scoring squad in the ACC, at 82.5 points per game. That doesn't bode well for an Orange defense that, in recent games, hasn't fared all too well. What's more, KenPom ranks the Tar Heels at No. 6 nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency, and that's a hard sell for a 'Cuse offense that by and large doesn't shoot great, struggles to score in its half-court sets and is No. 148 overall in adjusted offensive efficiency.

In their all-time series together, North Carolina is 17-6 versus Syracuse basketball, and UNC has won three in a row over the 'Cuse.

After Syracuse basketball plays North Carolina at the Dome, the Orange will hit the road for two straight ACC clashes, first traveling to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech on Saturday, Feb. 17, beginning at 5:30 pm and with television coverage on The CW Network.

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