The North Carolina Tar Heels travel to the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York, to face the Syracuse Orange in Monday night ACC basketball action beginning at 7 pm EST. Currently, the Tar Heels are favored by a point for this contest.
The Tar Heels enter this contest winning 3 of their last 4, overall, as they were able to atone for the home loss to the Marquette Golden Eagles last Wednesday night to take out the highly-ranked Florida State Seminoles Saturday as they went on a furious 2nd-half run to eliminate a 12-point halftime lead en route to the 8-point win. After allowing 41 points to the road team in the 1st-half, the Tar Heels buckled down in the final 20 minutes to allow just 39% shooting to the Seminoles (29% 3FG) while forcing 17 turnovers.
On the other hand, North Carolina was able to overcome 21 turnovers along with 38% shooting (22% from long-range), by making 27 of 30 free-throws en route to their 15th victory of the year. The Tar Heels were also able to cover as 2-point dog and are 3-1 ATS in their last 4, overall.
The Orange dropped their 2nd-straight game on the road after falling to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Saturday as they came out cold in the 2nd-half and relinquished a 5-point halftime lead while being outscored 50-38 during this time to suffer the 7-point loss, their 8th of the year. Syracuse was able to get 26 points from leading scorer Alan Griffin while the guard went 4-7 from deep; However, the Yellow Jackets' Moses Wright was very dominant scoring 31 points while grabbing 16 boards as the home team also shot 50% in the win. The Orange fell against the spread as 5-point dogs and hare just 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games.
North Carolina has dominated this series winning outright in 9 of 10, overall, including in 3 of 4 at the Carrier Dome. Furthermore, the Tar Heels also possess a slight edge against the number during this time going 6-4 while going 2-2 ATS in their last 4 roadies.
Coach Williams wins number 900Thanks to a 4th-straight double-digit performance from reserve Walker Kressler, who entered the contest averaging just 4-points per game, the Tar Heels were able to shake off the remnants of their non-conference loss to the Golden Eagles to take out the top-dog in the conference Saturday while getting the 900th win for coach Roy Williams. Kressler posted 20 points in the contest off the bench, grabbed 8 rebounds, while collected 4 blocks in the win while reserve RJ Davis also contributed 12 points.
Say it with us ➡ Black Lives Matter. pic.twitter.com/JrEdvqjncx— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) July 6, 2020
And while leading scorer Armando Bacot (11 ppg, 7 rebs) struggled going just 2-3 for 6 points, Kerwin Walton (8 ppg) along with Caleb Love (10 ppg) chipped in 13 and 12 points, respectively, to improve upon their season resume in preparation for the NCAA Tournament.
The Tar Heels must now finish up the season strong versus the Orange while wrapping up the year at home versus in-state rival Duke Blue Devils March 6th. Important to note that North Carolina has posted 80 or more points in 6 of 10 versus Syracuse. On the other hand, despite scoring an average of 87 points in 3-game prior to their last outing versus the Orange on the road, the Tar Heels laid an egg in March of last year in a 28-point road loss where the offense posted only 53 points.
Orange defense awful in 2nd-straight lossFor the season, Syracuse has allowed only an average of 71 points per game on 42% shooting, including 31% from long-range. However, during their 2-game losing skid, they have allowed 80 or more points during this time with both the Duke Blue Devils along with the Yellow Jackets each shooting 50% of better. The Orange will certainly need to shore up defensive vulnerabilities in this contest as the Tar Heels have not only posted an average of just under 80 points per game in their last 4, but, has had some huge offensive nights versus Syracuse in recent matchups.
Leading scorer Griffin (16 ppg, 7 rebs) was able to arise from a mini-slump versus Georgia Tech leading the team with 26 on 9-15 shooting as he is currently shooting 45% FG along with a solid 37% from deep. Quincy Gurrier (15 ppg, 9 rebs) also rebounded from 2 consecutive single-digit performances in the contest with 13 points and 5 boards while Buddy Boeheim (15 ppg) posted his lowest scoring output in 5 games with 12 points on a dismal 4-11 shooting (1-5 3FG).
The trio both shot efficiently in a 6-point road loss to the Tar Heels last month with Gurrier leading the way with 23 points and 11 boards while Boeheim and Griffin finished with 18 and 16 points, respectively. Important to note that Gurrier had 5 of the Orange's 14 turnovers in the contest while Griffin committed 3. The issue for Syracuse was their inability to keep North Carolina off the free-throw line (18-23 UNC compared to 9-12 Syracuse) as well as the glass as they were outrebounded 43-28 with the Tar Heels racking up 19 offensive boards.
Stats & Trends
- Tar Heels are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 Monday games.
- Tar Heels are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Orange are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Orange are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Orange are 2-6 ATS in last 8 games.
The Tar Heels are riding with the most momentum between these 2 at the time in addition to covering in 6 of their last 9 outings. On the other hand, the Orange have dropped 4 of 5 against the number in their last 5 homers. Again, North Carolina needs to maintain the momentum they currently possess in that though they have picked up some quality wins throughout the year, a bad loss (such as one versus Syracuse) will not look good on their tournament resume. In all, expect for the Tar Heels to grind out a hard-fought win in this contest.