Beat writers predict SU’s NIT Season Tip-Off consolation game matchup with PSU

first_imgSyracuse (4-2, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) plays its second of two games in Brooklyn against Penn State (5-1) in the third-place game of the Barclays Center portion of the NIT Season Tip-Off. Syracuse star Elijah Hughes had a career-high 28 points against Oklahoma State, but it wasn’t enough as Joe Girard III and Buddy Boeheim combined for 2-for-14 shooting from 3-point range.Here’s what the beat writers predicted for the outcome of the game.Nick Alvarez (6-0)Pride rockedPenn State 81, Syracuse 70 I see this game going a lot like Syracuse’s matchup against Oklahoma State. The neutral site and 2-3 zone should keep it close in the first half, but Penn State is the better team and it’ll pull away eventually. Syracuse needs to shoot better and not collapse inside. Sitting in the Barclays Center on Wednesday night before SU’s game, one Penn State player in particular stood out: Mike Watkins. The center averages 11 points a contest and shoots an astounding 69%. He had one thundering dunk that was the highlight of the night against Ole Miss. Watkins is probably the reason Syracuse won’t mount a second-half comeback after the Nittany Lions take a lead on Friday. The Orange probably would’ve faired better against the Rebels, but now they’re looking at two nonconference losses in a New York arena akin to what happened last year in Madison Square Garden. Michael McCleary (5-1)The lion’s denPenn State 75, Syracuse 68AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse got unlucky with this one. Penn State was on its way to a blowout against Ole Miss Wednesday. Then…it wasn’t. The Nittany Lions lost after they led by 20 points at one point of the game. Penn State center Mike Watkins dunked everything he saw in the early part of the game, and Lamar Stevens dropped 22 points on the Rebels. Syracuse has a Lamar Stevens: His name is Elijah Hughes, who quietly (but only because of the separation in the score) had a career-high in points against Oklahoma State Wednesday. But Syracuse doesn’t have anyone like Watkins. Penn State gets the edge for its inside presence and wing-scoring combo.Josh Schafer (5-1)Back to the drawing board Penn State 72 Syracuse 65 The Orange haven’t proven themselves against Power 5 opponents yet this year, and it’s hard to believe they will have figured it out with only Thanksgiving Day separating them from a 15-point loss to Oklahoma State. Right now, the Orange aren’t shooting great right now, and until that changes, Syracuse doesn’t have enough other ways to create offense. The Nittany Lions have the 26th ranked adjusted defense per KenPom.com. Ole Miss was the first team that Penn State has allowed more than 70 points to and that came in a total second-half collapse. To keep pace with Penn State’s scoring that will come from a dominant big man in Mike Watkins, who’s playing in a place the Orange struggle to cover, Syracuse will need to outplay what both teams have put on film thus far. At this point in the season, it’s hard to predict that to happen.  Comments Published on November 29, 2019 at 12:58 pm Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more