Syracuse basketball predictions for Sweet 16 matchup with Gonzaga

first_img Published on March 24, 2016 at 12:26 am Related Stories How Dajuan Coleman can provide an added bonus for SyracuseBlum: Syracuse playing rest of NCAA Tournament on borrowed timeWhy Tyler Roberson can be a consistently dominant rebounder for SyracuseSyracuse basketball opponent preview: What to know about GonzagaSyracuse basketball roundtable: How to handle Gonzaga’s threats and how SU can improve No. 10 seed Syracuse (21-13, 9-9 Atlantic Coast) takes on No. 11 seed Gonzaga (28-7, 15-3 West Coast) in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night at 9:40 p.m. in Chicago. The Orange is coming off back-to-back wins over Dayton and Middle Tennessee State this past weekend to keep its season alive.Here’s how beat writers Sam Blum, Jesse Dougherty and Matt Schneidman predict the matchup to unfold.Sam Blum (21-13)Gonzaga 68, Syracuse 65Tried your bestSyracuse’s season will always be remembered for the Sweet 16 run. Or maybe it will be for Boeheim’s suspension. Or maybe even how close the Orange came from beating Gonzaga. This has been an eventful five months for SU. We’ll never forget it. Unfortunately, the ride that was meets its demise when Syracuse can’t beat the red hot Bulldogs. The Windy City will blow the Orange all the way back to campus as a crazy year ends with a loss.Jesse Dougherty (22-12)Syracuse 64, Gonzaga 60Hard to guardAdvertisementThis is placeholder textIt’s arguable that Gonzaga’s defense has been nearly as impressive as the Syracuse zone so far in this Tournament, and both teams will go up against the most diverse offense they’ve seen on Friday. With that, this comes down to the two offenses even if the final score doesn’t indicate a shootout. Wiltjer, Sabonis and the Bulldogs’ cast of slashers gives the zone fits in flashes, but it’s the Orange’s big slashing shooters — Michael Gbinije and Malachi Richardson — that steal the show and a chance to play for the Final Four in Houston.Matt Schneidman (25-9)Gonzaga 71, Syracuse 64BittersweetThe 2-3 zone has been unsolvable for Dayton and Middle Tennessee State, but unfortunately for the Orange Gonzaga has two players tailor-made to solve it. Six-foot-10 Kyle Wiltjer and 6-foot-11 Damontas Sabonis are two of the best perimeter big men in the country and they will find the cracks and crevices in the zone to exploit the Orange down low, from the free-throw line and at the short corner. This time Syracuse in unable to pull away from a team in the second half to continue its unlikely tear through the Big Dance, and the Bulldogs leave Syracuse with a bittersweet taste in its mouth. Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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