(State vs Syracuse; Greensboro; Thursday March 2nd; 2 P.M.; ACCN)
State and Syracuse who finished 8th and 9th respectively in the regular season of the ACC meet for the second time this season in the second round of the ACC Tournament. State defeated Syracuse in Syracuse, New York on January 1st 56-54. Camille Hobby led State in scoring with 12 on 5-9 from the floor; 2-2 from the line. Saniya Rivers had 9 for State as did River Baldwin. State played the game without Diamond Johnson and it appears that State will again play Syracuse without Diamond Johnson. While Jada Boyd went 0-7 from the floor, this was her second game back after missing a number of games due to an ankle injury.
Six-feet Sophomore Georgia Woolley led Syracuse in scoring in the first meeting of the two teams scoring 23 on 9-15 from the floor; 4-8 from the arc. Five-five senior Dyaisha Fair, named All-ACC first team and All-Defensive team in 2022-23, scored 14 shooting 6-23 from the floor; 1-9 from the arc. Do not expect Fair to shoot that poorly Thursday as she is averaging 20 ppg shooting 398 from the floor; 374 from the arc. Woolley is second in scoring for the Cuse at 11.9 ppg shooting 389 from the floor; 313 from the arc.
In Syracuse's last game, a crushing 85-55 defeat of Pitt on Pitt's home court, Syracuse started besides Fair, six-two graduate student Asia Strong, six-one graduate student Dariauna Lewis, five-eight Alaina Rice and five-six Kennedi Perkins. Fair had 23 for the Cuse shooting 8-12 from the floor; 7-10 from the arc. Woolley did not play. Woolley did play 35 minutes in the team's preceding game against Miami.
State is 5-5 in their last 10 games while Syracuse is also 5-5. State's NET is 19 while Syracuse's NET is 53. Syracuse's NET quad 1 record is 2-10 while State's is 6-9. State has one NET quad 3 loss while Syracuse has one NET quad 2 loss. Syracuse has a recent home win over NET 23 UNC while State likewise has a recent win over NET 23 UNC. In both of the aforementioned games, UNC's Utsby and Hodgson did not play. For the season State does have two more wins topping any win by Syracuse and those are at NET 8 Iowa and over NET 6 Notre Dame.
HerHoopStats with the game at a neutral site picks State to win 76.8 to 67.4 with a win probability of 76.9%. With regard to Her Hoop Stats ratings, Syracuse has a value of 14.5 while State has a value of 27.2; Syracuse has a rank of 66/361 while State has a rank of 19/361. From Her Hoop Stats, Syracuse's Simple RPI if 55/361 while State's is 27/361.
ESPN bracket watch, has Syracuse as the last team in, so a loss to State might knock them out. The same watch has State as a number 7 seed in the Seattle bracket and traveling to LSU for a first game matchup with number 10 seed Washington State.
Whether deserving or not, with a loss Thursday State should still get an invite due to a strong schedule (SOS of 7) and some big wins prior to the team's last eight games when the team went 3 and 5.
For the first time in a long time, State did not have any one on first team All-ACC. Diamond Johnson did make the second team. And for the third year in a row, State has the sixth player of the year who is Saniya Rivers. She follows Jada Boyd in 2020-21 and Diamond Johnson in 2021-22.
Not expecting it, but hoping Jakia Brown-Turner pulls a "Tommy Burleson" and dominates in the Tournament. ACC basketball history buffs can look up the why of the Tommy Burleson reference. Blessings to all.