Slow starts have made the Carrier Dome nervous at times, but the Syracuse Orange have found a way in each of their three contests, and stand at 3-0 coming into their matchup against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies.
The Orange have been led by Tyus Battle in the young season as he has taken on a leadership role with all of the departures from last year's squad. Syracuse will need more from Battle as they look to beat the 2-1 Golden Grizzlies and move to 4-0.
The Golden Grizzlies lost their last game against the Toledo Rockets, but Oakland has looked impressive in their first two wins of the season thus far. This won't be the hardest game for the Orange this year, but Battle and crew cannot take this team lightly if they want to continue their perfect start.
What more does Tyus Battle have to offer?
We all knew that this was Battle's team coming into the season, but the sophomore guard has shown more than anybody expected in the first three games of the year. Foul trouble hindered him in the first half against Texas Southern, but Battle used his knock-down jumper and attacking instincts to make his presence known in the second half.
Battle has shown he has the leadership capabilities to win games, but what else does he have that will give the Syracuse faithful even more jaw dropping moments like this one?
How will the Orange stop the Golden Grizzlies' dynamic duo?
The Orange have yet to face a team with two gifted scorers, but that will all change when Oakland steps into the Carrier Dome on Monday night. The Golden Grizzlies have two 20-plus points per game scorers in Kendrick Nunn and Martez Walker. The two are averaging a combined 52.3 points per game this year as they have used their dynamic scoring abilities to attack the opposing defense. They can both hit the three and score inside, so coach Jim Boeheim will need to have his zone closing out on the shooters at all times in this contest.
Marek Dolezaj's attacking tenacity
The Orange have been grateful for the impressive play out of their freshman forward Marek Dolezaj thus far. The foreigner has contributed in a number of ways in the young season, whether it be playing the high post to perfection, or cleaning up the offensive glass which have led to easy finishes inside.
Syracuse has yet to see the forward use his outside shooting touch, but Dolezaj's hustle plays have more than helped this team get off to their 3-0 start.
Will Oshae Brissett figure it out?
The Orange know they have a talented freshman in Oshae Brissett, but the newcomer has struggled to find his stroke in the first three games of the year. Brissett has helped out despite his poor shooting performances as he is averaging 7.7 rebounds per game, a team high.
It takes time to get accustomed to the pace of play at the collegiate level, but the Orange need Brissett to get in a rhythm if they want to reach their full potential. He has the talent to dominate, but it's a matter of putting it all together for the freshman Brissett.
Can Geno Thorpe build off of his last performance?
The Orange needed someone to step up when Battle picked up his second foul in the first half against Texas Southern, and Thorpe was the player to do so without the star shooting guard. Thorpe has struggled to find his place in this Syracuse offense, but that all changed once he saw a few threes go down in his last performance.
Thorpe had 13 points, all in the first half, against Texas Southern as he used his craftiness inside and shooting stroke from deep to impact the game for the Orange. Syracuse needs more scoring from players other than Battle, and if Thorpe can get his shot going, the Orange may be able to score with the best of them.