2016 NCAA Tournament: Beat writers predict Syracuse basketball’s Final Four matchup with North Carolina

first_img Published on March 30, 2016 at 3:44 pm No. 10 seed Syracuse (23-13, 9-9 Atlantic Coast) will square off with No. 1 seed North Carolina (32-6, 14-4) on Saturday at 8:49 p.m. in the Final Four in Houston. The Tar Heels beat the Orange in two previous matchups this season, but now they will play for a berth in the national title game.Here’s how our beat writers predict the game will unfold.Sam Blum (21-15)North Carolina 70, Syracuse 60Final GameWho really even knows at this point? Syracuse’s improbable run through the NCAA Tournament was supposed to end against Gonzaga. Then it was supposed to end against Virginia. Now, here we are, with another team that’s supposed to beat the Miracle Orange. It’s tough to beat a team three times in a season, but if Pittsburgh can find a way, so too can the Tar Heels. Syracuse will keep this close, but UNC will blast the painted area to grab a late lead. And unless there’s more press magic for the third straight game, SU’s season will end successfully — if not triumphantly — with a Final Four loss.Jesse Dougherty (23-13)North Carolina 73, Syracuse 69The Carolina wayAdvertisementThis is placeholder textI picked North Carolina to win this whole Tournament back before it started (when we all thought Syracuse wouldn’t make it out of St. Louis alive), and the Tar Heels haven’t given me any good reason to deviate that. The Orange has given us all reason to believe that it could go all the way to the national championship game on Monday, but it gets into a shootout with UNC and can’t quite keep up. This doesn’t invalidate SU’s success this season, as it will have far out-reached expectations, it’s just a stinging third loss to a North Carolina team that Syracuse always competes against until it matters most.Matt Schneidman (25-11)Syracuse 73, North Carolina 70Near-perfect 10Because why not? Why can’t Syracuse pull off another upset of a No. 1 seed from its own conference? Sure, North Carolina will be a tougher task than Virginia simply because of how outmatched the Orange is in the frontcourt, but all it takes is a monstrous performance from Tyler Roberson, support from Tyler Lydon and not falling behind by double digits early. If Syracuse can keep it close, and keep Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson in check while not being exploited by the high-low attack that has hurt in the past, SU will head to the national title game. Comments Related Stories Dougherty: Malachi Richardson doesn’t think you can guard him, and he’s probably right10 fun facts about North CarolinaSyracuse basketball opponent preview: Visual breakdown of No. 1 seed North CarolinaThe shoe still fits for Syracuse basketball and big-play freshman Tyler LydonSyracuse basketball roundtable: How to beat North Carolina, SU’s prior clashes with UNC and how SU impressed against Virginiacenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img