Syracuse Basketball: ACC Teams Orange Should Be Most Worried About

Josh Schoch@JoshSchochAnalyst IIIMay 22, 2013

Syracuse Basketball: ACC Teams Orange Should Be Most Worried About

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    Syracuse will finally makes its move from the Big East to the ACC this season, making the ACC arguably the top conference in college basketball.

    The Orange will be moving with fellow Big East school Pittsburgh, and will be followed by Notre Dame and Louisville in due time.

    Jim Boeheim's bunch will be entering into brand new rivalries with some of the best programs in the country. However, there are three schools that the Orange should fear in their new conference in the 2013-14 season.

    Let's take a look at each of those three teams.

North Carolina

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    All-Time Record vs. Orange: 4-3


    Why They Should Be Feared

    Roy Williams and North Carolina always have one of the top teams in the country, and this year will be no different.

    With last year's star forward, James Michael McAdoo, returning, the Tar Heels will have a plethora of talented wings and big men. McAdoo will be joined by sharpshooter P.J. Hairston, sophomore point guard Marcus Paige and big men Joel James, Brice Johnson and Desmond Hubert.

    UNC also brings in another stellar recruiting class, with PG Nate Britt, PF Isaiah Hicks and C Kennedy Meeks all being Top 30 recruits in ESPN's Class of 2013 rankings.

    With all this talent, the Tar Heels will be a Top 15 team once again.


    How Syracuse Can Beat Them

    The key to stopping North Carolina is attacking the team's biggest weakness: the point guard position.

    True freshman point guard Tyler Ennis will have to come in and immediately lead the Orange to victory against UNC. The Tar Heels have a lot of dangerous weapons, but Ennis and the team's 2-3 zone can render them ineffective if the Orange can keep the ball out of their hands by shutting down Paige.

    Point guard is the most important position in the game because they are charged with controlling the tempo and running the offense, and if Paige plays poorly the Tar Heels will follow suit.


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    All-Time Record vs. Orange: 1-3


    Why They Should Be Feared

    Virginia might not be one of the teams you expected to be on this list, but the Cavaliers are bringing back a solid starting core and are one of the teams on the fringe of the Top 25.

    Juniors Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell are both returning to Charlottesville after combining for 29.4 points and 12.9 boards per game last season. This year they will be the senior leaders of this team, and will be the best offensive duo in the ACC.

    While Harris and Mitchell dominate, Evan Nolte and Justin Anderson will be draining threes, and the Cavaliers will be one of the top teams in the conference.


    How Syracuse Can Beat Them

    The key to beating Virginia is crashing the boards and stopping freshmen point guards Devon Hall and London Perrantes.

    Mitchell was one of the top rebounders in the conference last year, but he is only 6'8". Syracuse has a clear height advantage over Virginia other than 6'11" sophomore Mike Tobey—who remains an unknown—and the team must use it.

    In addition, Hall and Perrantes have no college experience whatsoever, and Syracuse's unique 2-3 zone will likely fluster them, giving the Orange a good chance to improve to 4-1 in the all-time series against Virginia.


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    All-Time Record vs. Orange: 2-2


    Why They Should Be Feared

    Mike Krzyzewski has another stacked team, led by an incredible backcourt of Quinn Cook and Rasheed Sulaimon and No. 2 recruit Jabari Parker, who was once touted as the best high school player since LeBron James.

    The Blue Devils have a lot of depth when it comes to guards and wings, as players like Alex Murphy, Tyler Thornton, Matt Jones, Semi Olejeye and Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood could start for almost any team in the nation but will be on the bench for the Dukies.

    With another small, athletic, skilled bunch of guys, look for Coach K to post another 30-win season in Durham, building on his record for most all-time wins.


    How Syracuse Can Beat Them

    For all the talent Duke has, Syracuse matches up well in this game.

    The Orange have almost as much depth at guard/wing as the Blue Devils, and have much more in the paint. Duke doesn't have a true big man another than 6'8" foul-machine PF Josh Hairston and Marshall Plumlee, who has played a grand total of 50 minutes over two years in Durham.

    The Orange will need Rakeem Christmas, DaJuan Coleman and Baye Moussa-Keita to own the paint, while Tyler Ennis has to prevent star point guard Quinn Cook from eating him alive to win this one and topple the ACC's best.