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Syracuse basketball vs. UConn: Five things to watch

Can the Orange get back on track?

NCAA Basketball: Connecticut vs Syracuse
Syracuse Orange head coach Jim Boeheim talks to Syracuse Orange guard Franklin Howard (1) during the second half against the Connecticut Huskies at Madison Square Garden.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It’s one of the great rivalries in Syracuse basketball history at one of the greatest venues in the world.

Syracuse (6-1) vs. UConn (6-2) at Madison Square Garden.

The two teams will meet on Tuesday night in the Jimmy V Classic. Tip off is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. ET, but will likely be a bit later than that. It will be televised on ESPN.

As for the two teams, Syracuse is coming off of their first loss of the season, to No. 2 Kansas, 76-60 on Saturday in Miami. The Huskies are coming off of an overtime victory over Monmouth, 84-81.

NCAA Basketball: Kansas at Syracuse Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Here are five things to watch in Tuesday’s game:

1. The lineups

I wrote about the lineups on Sunday, and I still feel as if it’s something to watch moving forward. Syracuse’s lineup of Howard, Battle, Brissett, Dolezaj and Sidibe is the best one at this moment. In tight games, crunch time and against better competition — we need to see this lineup the most. It has a little bit of everything and, with the 19-4 second-half run against Kansas, we know it can produce against elite competition.

2. Howard Washington

With the departure of graduate transfer Geno Thorpe, Howard Washington will be asked to do more. He only played eight minutes in the loss to Kansas, but Syracuse will eventually have to call his number for extended minutes. Whether that’s due to Battle’s back injury or foul trouble from either guard, Washington has to, and will be, ready to go.

3. Alterique Gilbert

The one-time Syracuse target didn’t play on Saturday against Monmouth due to a nagging shoulder injury. It’s the same injury that kept him out all of last season. His status for Tuesday is unknown, and if he isn’t able to go - it’ll be a break for the Orange.

4. Bounce back

Can Syracuse bounce back? Good teams make sure one loss doesn’t string into three or four. Is Syracuse a good team? That’s to be determined, but beating UConn and avoiding losing the first two games away from the Carrier Dome is a step in the right direction. Not to mention, if Syracuse wins on Tuesday to get to 7-1, Colgate is the next opponent on Saturday. The Orange have a legitimate chance to be 8-1 heading into the Dec. 16 matchup at Georgetown.

5. Slowing down Jalen Adams

Adams is Connecticut’s best player. He’s averaging just under 20 points per game, is shooting over 34 percent from deep and is a taller, experienced guard. He won’t be phased by the 2-3 zone and can single-handled keep UConn in the game if he has a special night. The Orange couldn’t slow down KU’s Devonte Graham, who scored 35 on Saturday against SU. Here’s hoping Adams doesn’t have a night like Graham did.