Beaten writers agree Syracuse will lose third straight game to Wake Forest

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Syracuse suffered an embarrassing 64-53 loss to Pittsburgh on Tuesday night. Apart from Buddy Boeheim, no other SU starter has scored more than nine points. Joe Girard III in particular struggled mightily, with his first bucket coming with 30 seconds left in the match. As the losses pile up, Syracuse’s chances of making it to the NCAA Tournament continue to plummet.

The next step is a second game against Wake Forest. The first time these two teams have played this season, Syracuse lost in overtime, scoring a single basket in overtime. After the game, head coach Jim Boeheim blamed the loss on a missed play in bounds with seconds remaining in regulation which gave Wake Forest the opportunity to send the game into extra time with a wide open dunk. .

Here’s what our beat editors expect Syracuse (9-11, 3-6 Atlantic Coast) to host Wake Forest (17-4, 6-3) at the Carrier Dome on Saturday night:

Andrew Crane (13-7)
To not have enough time
Wake Forest 80, Syracuse 70

Wake Forest needed extra time to beat Orange when these two sides met three weeks ago, but I don’t expect the game to be as close this time. Symir Torrence registered just five minutes then – without playing in the second half or extra time – meaning Syracuse should be able to operate using a similar game plan without their reserve guard. But there are so many other issues facing this SU team that it will be difficult to cover them all up in 40 minutes. The Demon Deacons hold the ACC’s highest-ranked defensive field goal percentage and the second-best offensive field goal percentage, so expect them to retreat behind a combination of Alondes Williams and by Isaiah Mucius – reflecting 2 and 3 point balance. WFU holds – and gives Orange their seventh loss in the last nine games.

Roshan Fernandez (11-9)
I go up from here
Wake Forest 80, Syracuse 79

Syracuse was awfully close to the bottom in its loss to Pittsburgh, so I think it will pick up from here. The loss at the Petersen Events Center was humiliating for SU, who scored a meager 53 points. The attack is capable of playing much better than it has been doing, and that has been shown in fits and starts throughout the season. In fact, SU were one pass away from upsetting Wake Forest in both teams’ opener. I think this game will be a lot tighter than expected, especially considering Game 1 was decided in overtime, but I can’t pick the Orange after the way they played against the Panthers.

Gaurav Shetty (11-9)
Can Giannis play?
Wake Forest 82, Syracuse 70

NBA champion and MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks will be in attendance Saturday when Syracuse takes on Wake Forest. The “greek monster” may not attend much of a game, as the two teams have moved in opposite directions since Syracuse’s loss in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, earlier in January. The Demon Deacons are 4-1 since — with that loss to Duke — but have four straight resounding wins over Virginia, Georgia Tech, UNC and BC.

Williams dropped 25 points in the last game against SU and went on to play as one of the best players in the ACC. Williams is the only ACC player to top 20 points per game, and he’s a lock to give Syracuse trouble on Saturday. SU could be without Torrence again this weekend, meaning Williams should have an easy night beating Girard and Buddy as this duo tire after long minutes. Expect Williams to come up ahead of Antetokounmpo, someone he could play against if he’s drafted into the NBA next year.

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