After a week long break studying for finals, the Syracuse Orange will return to action this Saturday in an old fashioned rivalry game on the road against the Georgetown Hoyas. The Orange have been impressive thus far, standing at 8-1 as they have been led by strong starts from Tyus Battle and Frank Howard.
This used to be a classic Big East battle back when the Orange were still in the former “greatest conference” in the nation. The Hoyas have yet to record a loss as they have won their first eight games of the season so far. This will be the 93rd meeting between the two historic programs with Syracuse winning 49 of the previous 92 contests. How will this round in this legendary rivalry play out?
Can Tyus Battle continue his hot start?
Ever since the Toledo win, the thought on Syracuse fans’ minds has been the health of Tyus Battle. Despite the worried thoughts, Battle has proven that he is capable of playing through a little pain, and is definitely capable of leading this team. Battle’s first nine games of the season have been impressive to say the least, but with a week off, you have to wonder how the star shooting guard will return to action.
Battle has consistently given the Orange 20 points a game (a 20.7 scoring average to be precise), as his lethal driving ability along with an improved jump shot has turned him into one of the most feared players in the country. This would be another good out of conference win for Syracuse’s resume, but they won’t be able to get it done without the same Tyus Battle from the first part of the season.
Bourama Sidibe’s health.
The excellent play from Bourama Sidibe has been quite the pleasant surprise in this early season, but the big man has seen more time on the bench as of late due to a knee injury. Paschal Chukwu has done his best to pick up the slack as of late, but this is a different team when Sidibe is a defensive menace off the bench. His length and size make him a force inside, but Sidibe’s defensive instincts are what have made Syracuse fans drool in his limited play thus far.
Slowing down Georgetown’s offense
Despite the perfect 8-0 start to the year, the Hoyas shouldn’t be too comfortable with the Orange coming into the Capital One Arena. Georgetown is currently last in strength of schedule, so a team like Syracuse should be a good test for the Hoyas early in the year.
Despite the easy start to the season, the Hoyas have a viable offensive attack led by Jessie Govan. Govan is a 6’10” junior who is averaging 20.6 points and 13 rebounds a game. His size and ability to finish inside have helped him dominate weaker opponents, but how will he fare against the dominant size the Orange will send onto the floor on Saturday?
What Matthew Moyer will show up?
Besides a breakout game in Madison Square Garden against UConn, Moyer has been pretty disappointing thus far, averaging just 3.9 points per game. His activity on the glass has helped the Orange (4.1 rebounds per game), but Syracuse needs more from Moyer if they want to reach their full potential. Will it be another quick hook for the redshirt freshman, or will it be another highlight making performance from Moyer on Saturday?
Can Frank Howard sustain this start?
The only mishap Howard has had thus far was his poor play in the UCONN game, but besides that the junior point guard has been a steady force at the point with his ability to control the pace of play and make the right decisions at the right time.
The knock on Howard in his first two seasons was his inefficient play in big-time games, but so far he has shown that those days are behind him. As the schedule starts to ramp up, look for Howard to prove the doubters wrong again with confident play starting on Saturday.