Opponent preview: What to know about North Carolina

first_img Published on April 13, 2019 at 12:13 pm Contact Andrew: aegraham@syr.edu | @A_E_Graham Facebook Twitter Google+ No. 9 Syracuse (7-3, 1-2 Atlantic Coast) visits No. 18 North Carolina (7-4, 1-1) in the Orange’s regular-season conference finale. A win potentially keeps SU out of the new play-in game, between the four and five seeds, in the ACC tournament. A loss guarantees an appearance in the Apr. 25 contest.Here’s what to know about the Tar Heels.All-time series: Syracuse leads, 17-8Last time they played: At the Carrier Dome almost a year ago to the day, then-freshman midfielder Brendan Curry scored two goals in the final 1:34 of the game to force overtime. He then assisted on Brendan Bomberry’s overtime winner. The win sealed SU’s No. 1 seed in the ACC tournament and it’s second-straight undefeated conference season.The North Carolina report: Though the Tar Heels have hung behind the rest of the ACC in the national polls, UNC is the only team besides Virginia with a chance to finish 3-1 in conference (UVA holds the tiebreak). Three of their four losses came against the Top 10.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut the Tar Heels have one of the best offenses in the conference, churning out 19.73 points a game, No. 17 nationally. UNC’s 13 goals a game ranks 14th.Still, North Carolina struggles to get the ball to its offense at times, winning barely more than half of faceoffs (50.3 percent). In turn, the Tar Heels scoring defense is good (9.91 goals per game), but not a unit to smother an opposing attack line.How Syracuse beats UNC: Hope one of Jakob Phaup and Danny Varello gets hot and ride them to victory.Syracuse demonstrated how it can beat a dominant offense when it muzzled Cornell on Tuesday: Deny the ball. Phaup dominated at the faceoff X and the Orange in turn ran long possession after long possession, generating goals and keeping the ball away from it’s defense at the same time.If the Orange can do the same against the Tar Heels — command the ball as much as possible — it should have a very clear path to victory. And with Phaup, the country’s fifth-most effective faceoff man, it’s a viable plan, too.Stat to know: -3 — Syracuse’s conference goal differential. In avoiding the four-five ACC game, there are two scenarios in which SU gets stuck in a three way tie with Duke and Notre Dame for the second, third and fourth or third, fourth and fifth seeds, respectively. If it comes to that, the tiebreak is conference goal differential, where the Orange lack. Notre Dame, still to host North Carolina in a week, sit at -5, currently and Duke, which plays Virginia on Saturday, is +3 in goal differential.Player to watch: Nicky Solomon, freshman attack, No. 5The true freshman and younger brother of Syracuse attack Nate Solomon is third on the Tar Heels with points (24) and tied for second in goals (16). Last Saturday against Virginia, he recorded his first career hat trick and ninth multi-point game. Commentslast_img read more

Why PSG President must wade in early to halt a disintegrated group

first_imgMemories are still fresh from the scene of Sunday’s spat between Edison Cavani and Neymar, during PSG Ligue 1 tie against Olympique Lyon at the Parc des Prince.The pair clashed on a number of occasions, asides the free kick and penalty incident, as footages highlighted Neymar refusing to pass the ball to the Uruguayan forward when better placed.Unconfirmed reports surfaced earlier in the week that the Brazilian superstar had un-followed Cavani on his Social Media pages, a rumour if verified will amount to pettiness on the part of the world’s most expensive footballer, and a likely seed of discord which has been planted in the PSG dressing room and will grow unhindered.Perhaps, Unai Emery should be accorded a greater portion of the blame game, due to his negligence in allocating a designated dead ball taker for the team in whatever order. Last season, following the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Cavani apparently became the teams number one dead ball specialist. He was unrivalled and obviously was successful in the execution of majority of his set-out task.Fast forward to 2017, the PSG project has grown and moved beyond global imagination, with the acquisition of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, and Dani Alves, all aforementioned players with proven abilities from free kicks, penalties and corner kicks. Emery should have sorted this out even before the first game Neymar played for the capital giants, to avoid the show of shame which was witnessed on Sunday night.A typical example of a team with so many superstars and ego was the Chelsea team of 2006. The squad then managed by Jose Mourinho had the likes of Frank Lampard-designated dead ball specialist, Michael Ballack, Didier Drogba, Arjen Robben and Andriy Shevchenko. It was an established fact at that time Lampard had the first refusal on any set piece, hence egos didn’t clash in a team which had four national team captains present in one dressing room.The biggest loser and gainer of whatever might be of the PSG season has to be President Nasser Al-Khelaifi. Considering the mouth-watering investments and the target of the club, Al-Khelaifi has to personally intercede in whatever personality ego which could create divisions in his pet project.Already Dani Alves appears to have pitched tents with Neymar, and considering there is a strong Brazilian presence within the team, it makes no sense for the club hierarchy to treat the issue at hand with kid gloves.If push comes to shove and both parties aren’t ready to sheath the sword, then the sensible thing to do is sell Cavani! A toy worth £198million is never one not to be treated like a special egg! RelatedEl Matador Cavani: A Tribute To PSG’s Newest LegendJanuary 29, 2018In “Europe”Trouble In Paris? Cavani Misses Out On Teammate’s BirthdaySeptember 25, 2017In “Europe”Barcelona Head For France In Last Bid To Sign Embattled PSG Star NeymarAugust 27, 2019In “Europe”last_img read more