The Syracuse Orange came out of their two game test against two top-10 teams with two more losses to add to their resume, which puts them right back on the bubble. At 18-11 with two games remaining, the Orange will likely need to finish 2-0 if they want to keep themselves in contention for a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
This Wednesday is the first of those two crucial games, this one being on the road against the Boston College Eagles. The Eagles sit at 16-13, but their inferior record shouldn’t make this a guaranteed win for the Orange, as we have learned this year that any win on the road in the ACC will be earned, not given.
Will the offense reappear?
After scoring 74 points against the No. 9-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels, the Orange’s unbalanced offense reappeared on the road against the Duke Blue Devils. Syracuse shot just under 32% from the field in their last outing, as the “big three” of Tyus Battle, Frank Howard, and Oshae Brissett combined for just 29 points on 10-39 shooting.
The Eagles aren’t a dominant defensive team, but the relied upon Syracuse scorers will need to come ready to play if they want to head into their regular season finale coming off of a win.
What will happen if this one gets close?
The Orange didn’t have to worry about the Duke game coming down to the wire, but they proved against North Carolina that they have some things to work on in crunch time. With the lack of shooting the Orange have, they will need to find a way to avoid settling for isolation sets in the closing minutes if they want to avoid a meltdown.
What can the Orange learn from their last meeting with BC?
Syracuse handled the Eagles relatively easily back on January 24, but it’ll be different this time around as it is the Orange who are coming in as the road team. Syracuse was able to make seven threes in their first meeting, but they will need to make sure they are attacking the paint early and often if they want to avoid this one getting tight late.
Slowing down the Boston College offense
The Eagles average 7.5 more points a game than the Orange (75.5 points per game), so it’ll be crucial for Syracuse to limit Boston College’s offensive success early—they don’t want this one getting into a fast paced scoring affair. Containing Jerome Robinson wasn’t easy last time out for the Orange (he had 21 points), so look for slowing down his scoring production to be a priority Wednesday night.
The centers’ scoring production
Paschal Chukwu and Bourama Sidibe have struggled to score the ball as of late, combining for just eight points over their last two games. No one is asking for 20 point games out of the two Syracuse bigs, but they do need to make their presence felt more often if they want to find a way into the big dance.