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Syracuse Orange vs. Virginia Cavaliers: NCAA Tournament Elite Eight Preview and Prediction

Jim Boeheim

Jim Boeheim

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ACC Sunday begins in Chicago as No. 1 Virginia gets upstart, No. 10 Syracuse in the Midwest Region final. The Orange were hotly debated before the NCAA Tournament even began as one of the teams that didn't belong in the Big Dance. Their defense is in top form, but when using that word, you have to go to Virginia. These two conference foes played on Jan. 24 in Charlottesville with the Cavaliers taking care of business at home, 73-65. Malcolm Brogdon, London Perrantes and Anthony Gill accounted for 53 of those points in the victory.

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No. 10 Syracuse Orange (22-13) vs. No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers (29-7)

When: ​6:09 p.m. ET (Sunday)

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​Where: United Center (Chicago, Illinois)

TV: TBS

Line: Virginia -8

Keys for Syracuse

Play loose. The Orange have no business being here and they'll play like it on Sunday. Virginia has all the pressure of being the No. 1 seed and expected to win its region especially after Michigan State lost. Tyler Lydon and Trevor Cooney combined for just 10 points in the first meeting between so that number has to be a lot higher. Lydon's range can help stretch out the defense, but he'll need to hit those shots when they are open.

Keys for Virginia

It's pretty simple for the Cavaliers: maintain status quo. There aren't too many teams left playing as well as Tony Bennett's squad right now. The last few meetings between these two schools have been a bit of a clinic as to how to get open shots against the 2-3 zone. Pound the glass as well with Mike Tobey and Anthony Gill so when the Hoos miss a shot, they get another opportunity.

Final Analysis

It's almost torture that I was asked to write this article as I am a proud alum of Syracuse. It's been a wild ride, but it comes to an end on Sunday. Virginia is the deeper team and the better one as well. The only shot the Orange has is if they can get more from Malachi Richardson and Cooney to keep the Cavaliers honest. Virginia won't mind if Michael Gbinije gets 30 as long as the rest don't help out. The Wahoos are Final Four bound.

Prediction: Virginia 68, Syracuse 54