first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 29, 2020 at 11:29 am After five losses in six games that all but eliminated Syracuse from NCAA Tournament contention, the Orange are on a two-game winning streak. Their most recent victory — a 23-point victory over Pittsburgh on Wednesday — was led by Elijah Hughes’ 25 points and Joe Girard III’s 16. Next up for SU (16-12, 9-8 Atlantic Coast) is North Carolin (11-7, 4–13), who’s drastically underperformed this year when compared with past teams.Here’s what our beat writers think will happen in Syracuse’s final home game of the regular season.Nick Alvarez (20-8)Heel-turnSyracuse 74, North Carolina 68Buddy Boeheim’s availability makes this game closer than it would be otherwise. Syracuse is still the better team, though, and if it can hold its own on the glass, North Carolina won’t have a shot. The zone will need to collapse on Cole Anthony and limit a potential top-10 NBA Draft pick. UNC’s lack of outside shooting will make that easier. Offensively, another Elijah Hughes-Joe Girard III show should out-pace the Tar Heels. If SU won this game any other year, there’d be a court-storming. But, North Carolina isn’t a powerhouse in 2019-20, and Syracuse should show another bad ACC team how depleted they are. Michael McCleary (19-9)On their heelsSyracuse 72, North Carolina 69AdvertisementThis is placeholder textGet it? Like “on their toes,” but they’re the Tar Heels, so… No? Alright whatever. This will be a close game though. Cole Anthony’s return to the North Carolina’s lineup has boosted them in recent weeks and I’m front of one of SU’s biggest crowds of the season, this actually could be a game where Anthony elevates his game to some ridiculous height. But the Tar Heels, in some weird Twilight Zone scenario, have no postseason aspirations at all. Real or not, the Orange do. The better team will win this one in a close game. Strangely, that team is SU.Josh Schafer (20-8)Down yearSyracuse 76 North Carolina 73North Carolina has played better than its record this year and enters the Carrier Dome having won the last eight matchups in the all-time series. Cole Anthony is fun to watch and will bring intrigue to this game but he’s also most of the Tar Heels offense. Syracuse has an elite ACC scorer too but also a slew of other players that can rack up points. If Buddy Boeheim is limited on Saturday, that could loom large for the Orange. If the sophomore can play some solid minutes and hit some 3-pointers Syracuse could run away with this one. The Orange don’t beat UNC often, this is its chance. Commentslast_img