With five games remaining, the Orange will need to play near perfect basketball if they want to find a way into the big dance. It won't be easy, but a win over the Hurricanes is a must if they want to be dancing in March.
Can the Orange take advantage of the depleted Hurricanes?
With Bruce Brown out for Miami, Syracuse will have a chance to take advantage of a team without one of their best players. In just 19 games, Brown was averaging 11.4 points per game, good for second on his team. The defense didn't show up in their last outing, so there will be no excuses in this one if the Syracuse defense goes MIA again.
Syracuse's foul trouble
The Orange have as thin of a roster as it gets, so keeping their key players out of foul trouble will be crucial to getting this much needed road win. Oshae Brissett picked up his second foul at the 17:21 mark against NC State, something that really slowed down their offense for an extended period of time.
With Syracuse's centers health in question, the Orange need to make sure they can defend without fouling, unless it'll be nearly impossible to get this ACC win on the road.
The foul shooting
Shooting 19-of-27 (70%) from the free throw line isn't the worst we've seen from this Syracuse basketball team, but the Orange were given too many scoring opportunities to lose to NC State.
The Orange went 2-of-6 from the charity strike in the final five minutes of play in a game where they lost by four. It is unacceptable for the Orange to struggle late in games from the line, because it is already hard as it is to score in the half court for this team.
Containing the perimeter
Miami sits at ninth in three point percentage in the ACC, which doesn't stand out on paper. However, the Orange did a terrible job of containing NC State from deep in the second half, letting them shoot 10-13 from deep, with the last one being a game winner from the top of the key.
Miami may not be a dominant perimeter shooting team, but the Orange need to get out on shooters if they want to avoid coming home with their heads down.
Can the Orange take care of the ball?
The NC State game would have been completely different if the Orange didn't commit 15 turnovers. 10 of those 15 turnovers came in the first half, as Syracuse looked sloppy and lackadaisical with the ball throughout.
Especially with this game being on the road, the Orange need to make sure they prioritize each possession by making sure they get a shot up rather than giving the ball away.