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Syracuse vs. Florida State preview: Five things to watch

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Can the Orange pull off the upset?

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

The Syracuse Orange (16-6, 7-2) have responded quite well following their thrashing defeat against the Virginia Tech Hokies with two straight road wins, but now the Orange will look to add another win against a ranked opponent as they return to the Carrier Dome to take on the No. 22 Florida State Seminoles (16-5, 4-4).

The Seminoles are riding a three-game winning streak coming into this ACC showdown. With Frank Howard looking like the player he was last year as of late, this is a perfect opportunity for Syracuse to add another resume boosting win.

The Frank Howard show

Sure, it may be a little bit of an overreaction, but Howard is back, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for this Syracuse basketball team. Howard came through once again in the Orange’s win at Pittsburgh on Saturday, as the senior point guard put up 15 points to go along with four steals and two assists.

Those aren’t jaw-dropping numbers, but it’s the way Howard has been attacking and look for his shot as of late that has Syracuse fans excited. This team needs their “quarterback” to be looking to score the ball off the dribble, and Tuesday night’s showdown is another chance for Howard to prove to the ACC that he can be relied upon as a scorer most nights.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Boston College Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Can Oshae Brissett create some consistency?

Brissett arguably had his best game of the season on Saturday in the Peterson Events Center, as the 6’8” forward finished with a game high 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting to go along with a game-high 12 rebounds.

The Canadian forward took smarter shots in this game, as he refused to settle for the three and took the ball to the rim. Brissett is extremely hard to stay in front of when his mindset is set on going downhill, and that showed against Pittsburgh—now let’s see if he can make it two quality games in a row.

Florida State’s balanced offense

The Seminoles have only two players who average double figures in scoring, but they do have six players who average at least seven points per game. Florida State’s balanced scoring attack has them at sixth in the ACC in points per game, while the Orange sit at 13th in the conference. Syracuse is going to need to score the ball to pull off the upset, but it all starts with the zone’s ability to contain Florida State’s scoring production, both inside and outside the three-point line.

Buddy Boeheim’s continued success

Boeheim may have only had six points in his last game, but those six points were from two threes, continuing the freshman’s recent success from deep. The three-point marksman has now made at least one three in his last seven games, as his ability to space the floor has helped Syracuse’s offense become more balanced as of late. The Orange need as much help from the perimeter as they can get, and Boeheim has fit the need in the biggest way possible recently — Tuesday night is another chance for growth for the improving freshman.

Offensive rebounds

The Seminoles are sixth in the ACC in total offensive rebounds, as they have grabbed 16 more offensive boards than the Orange this year. Syracuse needs to clean up that side of the glass in order to get out in transition and find some easy scoring opportunities. The Orange need to find a way to limit Florida State to one shot per possession if they want to have a shot at coming away with the upset win.

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