Syracuse vs. Middle Tennessee prediction and preview. Who’s Got Next analyzes the NCAA Tournament’s second round matchup between the Orange and Blue Raiders.
How they got here
Syracuse beat No. 7 Dayton 70-51; Middle Tennessee beat No. 2 Michigan State 90-81.
Why Syracuse will win
The Orange silenced a lot of critics by overcoming a slow start to rip Dayton, and ‘Cuse used a balanced attack to do it. Guard Malachi Richardson put on a show scoring inside and out, and he received help inside from Michael Gbinije and Tyler Roberson, who combined to score 20 points and grab 25 rebounds. When Syracuse plays under control and takes care of the ball, the Orange can be tough to handle. Playing disciplined defense will be key to ‘Cuse reaching the Sweet 16.
Why Middle Tennessee will win
The Blue Raiders stunned Michigan State by spreading the Spartans out and making them scramble to defend all over the floor. To pull off a second straight upset, MTSU will have to do more of the same, and they’ll have to do it by making crisp passes and moving the ball before Syracuse can react. MTSU’s balance is one of their strong suits, and the Blue Raiders will need another big game from Reggie Upshaw inside to get the Orange in foul trouble.
Syracuse vs. Middle Tennessee Prediction
Middle Tennessee isn’t going to go quietly, and Syracuse better be ready for a fight. The Orange have lost focus at times this season and faltered defensively, and they can’t allow that to happen vs. a Middle Tennessee team that is playing with confidence. Still, Syracuse has been in a lot of big games, and its superior athleticism will win a close one.
Syracuse vs. Middle Tennessee Final Score Prediction: Syracuse 71, Middle Tennessee 67