#521 Syracuse University Orangevs.#522 Virginia Tech Hokies
Tuesday, January 1 2017, at 7:00pm EST
Written by Benjamin Hayes
Syracuse Orange (10-6 SU, 5-6 ATS, 5-6 O/U) at Virginia Tech Hokies (12-3 SU, 6-5 ATS, 6-5 O/U)
When and Where: Tuesday, Jan. 10, Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Virginia, 7pmET
Line: Virginia Tech -4.5
Virginia Tech was riding high to end 2016 after beating Duke by 13 at home. But losses to NC State by 26 and Florida State by 15 on the road on Saturday has taken some of that momentum away. The Hokies are now 1-2 in the ACC, while Syracuse is 2-1 after beating Pittsburgh at home by 11 (77-66) on Saturday. Last year, Syracuse beat Virginia Tech in overtime, 68-60 at home in their only meeting.
Jim Boeheim is the Energizer Bunny. He just keeps going and going and just when you think he’s seen his better days, his team wins two straight games. The Orange opened 2017 with a loss to pitiful Boston College on the road, 96-81. They also had bad losses at home to Georgetown (78-71) and St. John’s (93-60) in the last month. But after beating Miami-Florida on Jan. 4, 70-55, they are back on track. In Saturday’s win over Pitt, the Orange were led by Andrew White III, the former Nebraska standout, who had 21 points and seven boards in 40 minutes. John Gillon added 20 points and 11 assists for Syracuse, who played just six players. The Orange shot 51.9 percent from the field and 14-of-27 (51.9%) from beyond the arc. They also held the Panthers to just 35.1 percent from the field. At one point in the first half, Syracuse was up 28 before Pitt used a 17-4 run at the end of the first half. After the teams were tied at 6-6, Syracuse used a 30-2 run to open up a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Syracuse averages 76.6 points per game and 45.9 percent from the floor (39.9% 3pt). They allow 65.8 points per game and 39.1 percent from the field (31.4% 3pt). White leads the Orange in scoring with 16.1 points per game on 39.8 percent 3-point shooting. Forward Tyler Lydon adds 13.5 points and shoots 45 percent from beyond the arc.
Seth Allen is a senior point guard who has been around the block. He started his career at Maryland and averaged 13.4 points per game in his sophomore season. After sitting out in 2014-15, Allen averaged 14.7 points per game last season but shot jus 39.4 percent. This season, he’s coming off the bench but averaging 27 minutes per game, while shooting 55.1 percent from the field and 43.2 percent from beyond the arc, while averaging 10.7 points per game. He missed their loss at Florida State due to a concussion and is questionable for this game. That left Justin Robinson as the only point guard and he managed five turnovers in 24 minutes. Chris Clarke led the Hokies with 22 points and eight rebounds, while Ahmed Hill and Zach LeDay added 19 points apiece. Virginia Tech turned the ball over 16 times and struggled on the defensive end (93 points allowed, 49.2% FG, 41.2% 3pt).
Zach LeDay (6-7, 235) leads the Hokies in scoring with 16.4 points, while grabbing 7.4 rebounds per game. Hill adds 15.5 points per game and 45.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc. The Hokies average 83.3 points per game (26th) and shoot 48.8 percent from the field (39.9% 3pt). They allow 72.1 points per game and 42.8 percent from the field.
College Basketball Trends:
Virginia Tech is:
With or without Allen, the Hokies should get back on track at home. Syracuse is 0-2 on the road and has even less depth than the Hokies. They also have enough three-point shooters to find an offensive rhythm against that 2-3 zone.
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Ben has been a sports writer for over 30 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for over 25 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13!