With the Syracuse Orange coming off of arguably their worst loss of the season against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, they will now welcome the Virginia Cavaliers to the Carrier Dome this Saturday. Virginia’s ranked second in the nation right now, FYI.
If the Orange play like they did against the Yellow Jackets, you can bet this game will be over by the first media timeout. Syracuse needs to find some marquee wins to put on its resume, and beating the team that some say should be ranked No. 1 may be a good start.
"Our offense is terrible; it's been terrible the whole year"
This quote comes directly from coach Jim Boeheim following Syracuse's most recent loss to Georgia Tech. These words were rightfully earned after the Orange's "big three" combined to shoot 12-of-44 against the Yellow Jackets, the main reason for their 55-51 defeat. The Orange will not win another game this year if the "big three" is not able to generate any offense, and it'll be even tougher as the stifling Hoos defense enters the Carrier Dome.
Braedon Bayer's extended minutes
With Howard Washington out for the year, the Orange will look to Braedon Bayer, a former walk-on, to make up for the loss; Bayer is averaging 0.7 points a game this year and was rewarded a scholarship after Geno Thorpe’s departure. It will be as tough of a test as it could be for Bayer's first real game, as he'll look to give Tyus Battle and Frank Howard a little breather against one of the best defenses in the country.
How much will Matthew Moyer play?
After missing one game due to an ankle injury, Moyer returned to action against Georgia Tech, but only found two minutes of playing time. Coach Boeheim said he was healthy in his postgame interview, but his lack of practice time limited his ability to play big minutes. The Orange are going to need a UConn-like performance (18 points, eight boards) from Moyer against Virginia if they want to pull out a much needed win.
What did the Orange learn from round one?
The Orange already saw this Virginia team early in the season on the road, and it ended in a final desperation comeback falling short for them. They weren't able to contain Kyle Guy on the perimeter who made five of his 11 long range shots, so containing the three ball will be crucial to the Carrier Dome court being stormed on Saturday.
The game of the season?
Beating the No. 2 team in the country is a lot to ask for from this limited rotation, but they need to start earning some quality resume building wins if they want to go dancing in March. The Orange gave their fans a handful of exciting top 25 wins last year, and it's time they do so again starting this Saturday. It will need to be a team effort if they want to pull it out, but never doubt the Syracuse Orange and a Hall of Fame coach.