NC State vs Syracuse Prediction: Easy Win for DJ Horne and the Wolfpack?

NC State can't afford to lose at home if they want to make the NCAA tournament.
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The NC State Wolfpack were on their way to the NIT tournament before having the best week of the season.

They used their bye week well to rest and regroup before going on the road and pulling off the upset at Clemson for their best win of the season. D.J. Horne not only continued his impressive 20+ point streak with his sixth consecutive game, but he also hit the game-winning jumper, solidifying his status as one of the best shooters in the country.

Syracuse vs NC State Prediction & Preview

For the season, Horne is up to 43.4% from beyond the arc on 6.9 attempts, averaging 17.2 points per game. Fellow senior DJ Burns Jr. has similarly increased his performance in recent games. He was the best big man on the court against Clemson, finishing with 14 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 assists.

For the Wolfpack to continue making their case to make the NCAA tournament, Horne and Burns Jr. need to continue their production. That starts with their matchup against the Syracuse Orange on Tuesday night.

Syracuse has had an up-and-down season, with the ability to beat any team, most recently demonstrated by their impressive win against North Carolina, but also get blown out by any team. Their performance heavily relies on whether their three-pointers go in or not on a given night. Their defense, on the other hand, has been consistently solid all season.

Whether Syracuse can score enough to keep up with the explosive scoring of Horne remains to be seen. Syracuse has been short-handed in the frontcourt rotation in recent weeks, having to rely on 6'8 Maliq Brown to play the vast majority of center minutes. They are the worst rebounding team in the conference, getting outrebounded by 4.5 per game on average. Mohamed Diarra and Burns Jr. should have a significant size advantage against the Orange.

NC State can't afford to make a mistake at this stage of the season. They will also have revenge on their minds against Syracuse who beat them by 12 in their earlier matchup. They are 11-3 at home and they will have to take care of business against a Q3 team in Raleigh if they want to make the dance in March. They should be able to do so.

The Wolfpack win it in relatively easy fashion, and DJ Horne extends his streak by scoring over 20 points again.

My final score prediction: NC State 71 — Syracuse 61