Louisville vs. Syracuse prediction and game preview. The Cardinals look to bounce back from their loss to UNC, while the Orange are riding high after their emotional win over Duke.
Louisville vs. Syracuse Game Preview
When: Sunday, Feb. 26 – 2 p.m. ET
Where: KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, KY
TV Broadcast: CBS
Rick Pitino’s No. 7 Cardinals (22-6, 10-5 ACC) had their three-game win streak snapped this past Wednesday at North Carolina, as the No. 8 Tar Heels scored a 74-63 victory to position themselves closer to the ACC regular season title. Justin Jackson scored 21 points while Kennedy Meeks added 14 points and 10 rebounds for UNC, which took over the game with a 13-3 second-half run and led by as many as 17 points late. Donovan Mitchell scored 21 points for the Cardinals, who didn’t shoot well in the second half.
Meanwhile, Jim Boeheim and the Orange (17-12, 9-7) broke a three-game skid—which followed a five-game win streak that put them squarely in the NCAA Tournament conversation—with an emotional last-second win over Duke at the Carrier Dome on Wednesday night. John Gillon hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer to upset the No. 10 Blue Devils, 78-75, and help the ‘Cuse gain a huge signature victory.
These teams met just 12 days ago at the Carrier Dome. Louisville claimed a 76-72 overtime win, as seldom-used guard Ryan McMahon scored all seven of his points in the extra period to hand the Orange their first conference loss at home this season.
Louisville Wins If …
… The Cardinals continue to play well at home. Pitino and Co. are 14-1 at the KFC Yum! Center this season, including a 6-1 mark in ACC games. The Cards shoot almost four percentage points better at home, so their gym has been a real advantage. Mitchell is coming off of an 8-of-15 performance against the Tar Heels, which occurred after he had an 8-of-13 night from the field against Virginia Tech. So he has been hot.
Outside of the game against the Hokies, who shot over 59 percent as a team in a close loss, Louisville’s opponents this season have not shot better than 46.8 percent at the downtown arena. So the Orange will need to be on top of their offensive game in this one.
Syracuse Wins If …
… The Orange get another strong effort from point guard John Gillon, who hit the game-winning 3-pointer against Duke on Wednesday night. Gillon, who hit a trey three weeks ago at the buzzer to force overtime in a win at NC State en route to a career-high 43 points, has fought through an up and down campaign as a grad transfer from Colorado State. He combined for just 18 points in the team’s latest two losses, as he endured one of his worst shooting nights of the season at Georgia Tech. However, Boeheim’s confidence in him has not wavered. And he was the hero of the game against the Blue Devils. Against Duke, he finished with a game-high 26 points and was 7 of 9 from the floor after the break, including the layup with 37 seconds left that tied the score for the final time at 75. It was a special night for him at the Carrier Dome.
The ‘Cuse has been an inconsistent bunch this season. If the Orange can shoot well against the Cardinals—they shot 53.2 percent from the field against Duke—and protect the basketball, Boeheim’s squad could give the Cards a real fight on the road. The Orange only had eight turnovers against the Blue Devils, so that ball protection is hugely important against Louisville’s pressure defense.
Matchup To Watch
Quentin Snider vs. Gillon
If the Orange have any chance to upset the Cardinals on the road, Gillon needs to win the matchup against his opposing point guard. Gillon sent the game to overtime by hitting a 3-pointer with 40 seconds to go in regulation in the first meeting, while Snider added 14 in the Louisville win.
Spread: No spread as of post
Over/Under: No line as of post
Louisville vs. Syracuse Prediction
The Orange won’t be able to return the favor and make up for the loss to the Cardinals at home by stealing this roadie. But it will be a close game until a couple of Mitchell threes late gives the Cardinals some breathing room. Orange senior guard Andrew White, who had 22 points in the first meeting, will have a big day in the setback after hitting just one field goal against Duke.
Louisville vs. Syracuse final score prediction: Louisville 74, Syracuse 68