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Syracuse vs. Georgia Tech preview: Five things to watch

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Will the Syracuse Orange move to 5-4 in the ACC?

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Despite some ugly offense, the Syracuse Orange managed to beat the Pittsburgh Panthers on the road this past Saturday to bring them to .500 in ACC play. The Orange will look to move above that mark in the ACC with another win on the road against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Pittsburgh
Frank Howard will look to bounce back after a subpar performance against Pittsburgh.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The “big three” for the Orange were off their game in their last outing, but Bourama Sidibe’s breakout effort was enough to make up for their offensive woes. Syracuse will need their dependable offensive weapons to show up on Wednesday if they want to walk out of McCamish Pavilion with a win.

Syracuse’s trend of playing down to their competition

The Orange have had a tendency to play down to their competition, as their offense starts to get stagnant and their defense leaves shooters open on the perimeter. The Yellow Jackets aren’t a strong team in the ACC (10-11 overall, 3-5 in conference), but the Orange know that any game on the road in the ACC should not be taken lightly. Syracuse will need to get off to a hot start on both ends of the floor if they want to prevent this one from becoming a nail biter late.

Can Bourama Sidibe do it again?

The Orange would’ve been traveling to Georgia Tech coming off of a loss if it weren’t for Bourama Sidibe’s 18 point and 16 rebound performance. Sidibe’s presence in the paint was seen on offense the most, but the big man’s ability to dominate the paint on defense gives Syracuse’s already lethal defense another weapon. You can’t expect Sidibe to put up 18 and 16 every night, but the Orange become a different team when their freshman big man is in a rhythm.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Pittsburgh
The Orange need more of the Bourama Sidibe they saw against Pittsburgh for the rest of the season.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Marek Dolezaj in the starting lineup

Marek Dolezaj got his first career start against the Panthers, and he sure helped the Orange pull away with a win. With Matthew Moyer out due to injury, the Orange turned to Dolezaj to bring both offensive and defensive production. Dolezaj didn’t dominate the box score (seven points, five boards, and two blocks), but his presence in the high post on offense and down low on defense was enough to make Pittsburgh think twice. We still don’t know how long Moyer will be out (best guess is “a while”), so look for Dolezaj to be relied upon again on Wednesday.

Slowing down Josh Okogie

The Yellow Jackets aren’t the most talented team in the nation, but they do have a dynamic scorer in Josh Okogie. Okogie is averaging 18.3 points a game by using his ability to get to the free throw line to his advantage. Slowing down Okogie will be crucial to the Orange giving themselves a chance to find enough offense to outscore Georgia Tech.

Will this be “the Oshae Brissett game?”

The Orange know they have an extremely talented freshman in Oshae Brissett, but the freshman forward has struggled to shoot the ball to say the least. Brissett is shooting 33-percent from the field this season; something that has really slowed down the Syracuse offense at times. The freshman made a big three to give the Orange some breathing room against Pittsburgh, however, which is a good sign for him and the team. Brissett has the ability to go off in any game, so will his time come on Wednesday against a bigger Tech team?