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Syracuse vs. Georgetown preview: Four things to watch

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(and no, one of those things isn’t “a team we should still be in the same conference with”)

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Georgetown Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Feels almost like old times, doesn’t it? the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team (6-2, 1-1) will face the hated Georgetown Hoyas (3-7, 1-5) at the Carrier Dome in primetime in January. The game’s on ESPN2. Syracuse could really use a win. Hopefully everything’s starting to sound familiar...

Before these old rivals get going on Saturday night, though, we wanted to dig into some of the most notable things to watch out for when Syracuse and Georgetown play.

Christian: Should Syracuse and Georgetown be in the same conference? Shot distribution needs to be addressed

Well John said we can’t have my first question in...

The Pitt game was a culmination of events that led to the upset loss. One of the more prevalent issues was the shot selection down the stretch, but something that should be equally criticized is who took said shots. Pretty much every puzzling and late game shot came from Syracuse’s guards. Joe Girard, Buddy Boeheim, and Alan Griffin all recorded double-digit field goal attempts. By comparison, Quincy Guerrier only took two field goal attempts, and both of them were from three. That was partially due to his foul trouble, but look at his frontcourt counterpart. Marek Dolezaj only took five field goal attempts.

Both Guerrier and Dolezaj have converted buckets with consistency and efficiency inside the paint. The fact that both were sparingly used is a trend that needs to stop fast.

Kevin: Can Syracuse keep Georgetown off the offensive glass?

After Pitt was able to out-rebound Syracuse 49 to 33, the Orange face a Hoyas team which has Qudus Wahab and Jamorko Pickett both averaging over 8.5 rebounds per game. Even if Bourama Sidibe is able to play limited minutes, the Orange have to put forth a better collective effort on the boards (as they have in their six wins, when they’ve won the rebounding battle each time). One way the Hoyas will keep this is close is by turning the game into a rock fight.

Szuba: Will Bourama Sidibe play?

To expand on Kevin’s point above, how will the center position play against Georgetown? We know rebounding to be an issue in Syracuse losses. Will Sidibe play and if he does, how effective can he be? The senior center returned to practice but did not play against Pittsburgh due to soreness. Whether he feels comfortable enough to play or not, the Orange need to keep Wahab off the glass.

John: It’s turnover time

While Syracuse hasn’t exactly displayed the best ball security so far this season (17.9 turnovers per 100 possessions, per KenPom), it’s a much larger problem for the Hoyas. Every member of the main rotation averages more than 1.5 per game and KenPom shows Georgetown at 22 turnovers per 100 possessions. Meanwhile, SU’s defense is forcing 23.3 per 100 (just outside the top 30), while Georgetown doesn’t force many turnovers at all (just 13.7). It’s basically Orange strength vs. Hoyas weakness on both sides there. The more SU can turn Georgetown over and start fastbreaks, the most likely it is they’re coming away with a win here.