The Syracuse Orange won a game that many (here) thought they wouldn't, but that doesn't mean they have reached their full potential. The Orange started ACC play with an ugly, but effective win against the Virginia Tech Hokies to move them to 12-2 on the season.
Syracuse will look to continue this early in conference success with a win against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on the road this Wednesday. The Demon Deacons aren't the cream of the crop in the ACC, but any in conference matchup should be approached with extreme focus.
Syracuse's three headed monster
The Orange's offense is led by a trio of Frank Howard, Tyus Battle, and Oshae Brissett who make up for 50.7 of the 72 points the Orange average per game. The Orange are going to need even better play from their most talented players if they want to have success in the ACC this year, especially on offense. This isn't a very talented offensive team, so Howard, Battle, and Brissett are going to need to carry the load for the foreseeable future.
Which Matthew Moyer will we get?
Moyer has played up and down this year to say the least, but his game against the Hokies was one of his most effective outings yet. The red shirt freshman finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds, giving him his first career double double. This team becomes even more deadly when they have Moyer attacking the glass and getting easy looks around the rim. The Orange need all the offense they can get, and more performances like his last one will give Moyer more playing time here on out.
The Syracuse defensive monster
The Orange are built on their defense this year, and it truly showed up against the Hokies. Syracuse held Virginia Tech to 56 points which is 35 points less than their season average. With their length,size, and athleticism, Syracuse has been able to rely on limited scoring because of their stifling defense. Look for the Orange's bread and butter to be in full force when visiting the Demon Deacons.
Containing Bryant Crawford
Bryant Crawford doesn't even average the most points on his team (15.4 points per game), but his scoring and defensive prowess will make him a key concern for the Orange. His playmaking ability allows him to score from all areas of the floor, but his defensive prowess makes him a great two-way player. Crawford is averaging the fifth most steals in the ACC (1.8 a game), so Frank Howard will need to make sure he has the ball on a string for 40 minutes.
Paschal Chukwu's foul trouble
The Orange need Paschal Chukwu to be on the floor more than ever with the absence of Bourama Sidibe due to injury, but they can't have their 7'2" center out there if he keeps getting into early foul trouble. Chukwu picked up his second foul at the 10:10 mark in the first half against the Hokies, something that really hinders Syracuse's success down low. The Orange don't need double figure points out of their center, but they do need him on the floor if they want to be as lethal as they can be.