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Syracuse Looks to Keep Perfect Season Against UNC, Iowa Needs a Win Against Ohio State

Change appears to be good for #2 Syracuse (15-0) this season up switching to the ACC conference. The remains unbeaten and with two conference wins to-date, it will face its first true test on Saturday afternoon against new conference foe, North Carolina (10-5). The Tar Heels will travel to the Carrier Dome and try to blemish Syracuse‘s perfect season.

The game begins at noon ET.

While unranked once again, North Carolina’s play has been erratic but it has defeated #12 Louisville, #14 Kentucky and #5 Michigan State ; however, this has also come with five losses already. One included a struggle against Miami with its zone defense and the same may happen against Syracuse’s as well. A loss against Wake Forest didn’t help the team’s confidence or credibility either.

On Friday, UNC coach Roy Williams spoke about the challenge ahead for his players by comparing it to the team’s three big wins via the Associated Press, “I think they definitely did (get up) for those three teams. If that same kind of attitude is going to show up tomorrow, I’ll be very, very pleased. We have to be completely fired-up, completely enthused, completely motivated tomorrow, or else we have no chance. I would think they’d better be enthused.”

Tyler Ennis and coach Jim  Boeheim

Tyler Ennis and coach Jim Boeheim

The Orange will enter with ACC wins against Miami (a close one) and Virginia Tech but look for Saturday’s game to be it’s Welcome to the ACC moment. Even with their successful histories, these two teams have only played one another seven times; three of them have come in the NCAA tournament. Carolina has a 4-3 advantage and in the sole time it played in the Carrier Dome, it won 87-64 in a battle back in the day with yes Michael Jordan and Kenny Smith of UNC vs. Syracuse’s Dwayne “Pearl” Washington.

In their most recent meeting, Nov. 20, 2009, Syracuse won.

This year, Syracuse has freshman point guard Tyler Ennis who could be the difference maker while Carolina will bring sophomore guard Marcus Paige.

It’s hard to bet against either one of these teams or their coaches but the Orange gets another win (-7.5). The team sits at 10/1 to win it all this spring.

Ohio State vs. Iowa (Sunday at noon ET)

After another dismal bowling season for football, the Big Ten has once again redeemed itself in hoops action and this weekend, one of its key matchups will be a good one between two ranked teams: #20 Iowa (13-3) at #3 Ohio State (15-1).

Fran McCaffery

Fran McCaffery

In their most recent game on Thursday, the Hawkeyes played without head coach Fran McCaffery at the helm after the hot-headed leader got himself a one-game suspension from Sunday’s game against Wisconsin. His team persevered by routing Northwestern, 93-67 on the home court. Now on this Sunday, they’ll again face another test against the one-loss Buckeyes.

McCaffrey’s team’s three losses has come against top teams and a total of 12 points: Villanova, Iowa State and Wisconsin. The common denominator in all of theses games has been Iowa’s blown second-half leads; they could have won these and now with another tough competitor, will this be the one that gets them over the hump?

Ohio State just suffered its first loss this weeke against division foe, Michigan State. It was a heartbreaker as the Buckeyes rallied from a 17-point deficit only to lose in OT. They are fighters and their defense is tough to beat with veteran Aaron Craft.

Iowa needs the win more than Ohio to meet some conference expectations. Vegas isn’t sure yet but it sees Ohio State at 12/1 to win the 2014 National Championship while Iowa sits at 50/1.

Other interesting Saturday games:

#9 Iowa State (-3.5, 174 o) at Oklahoma (Noon ET)

#25 Kansas State at #18 Kansas (-9.5, 130.5)(2:00 p.m.ET)


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