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Things to watch for during Syracuse men’s basketball’s week in the Bahamas

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We tell you what we’re keying in on these three games

NCAA Basketball: Colgate at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange are in the Bahamas for the Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis and with three games over the holiday, so we’re going to package our things to watch in one big platter. So pass the gravy and pour yourself a healthy amount of musings from the TNIAAM staff.

Kevin: Bounce-back Benny

After the loss to Colgate Jim Boeheim noted that Benny Williams was a -28 during his 22 minutes. Williams was 3 for 5 from the field but only contributed 1 rebound and committed 3 turnovers. While he’s certain not the only Syracuse player who struggled on Saturday, I’m curious to see how he responds to Boeheim’s public “tough love”. Will he continue to be aggressive or is he going to be looking over his shoulder after every play? The talented freshman is important to the Orange so watch and see how he fares under the pressure.

NCAA Basketball: Loyola-Chicago at Michigan State Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

John: Moving back beyond the arc

After a three-point shooting clinic in game one vs. Lafayette (13-of-26 from outside), we’ve seen the Orange offense move decidedly more inside the three-point line with just 39 shots from deep in the last two games (and just 15 makes, though they did go 8-of-16 against Drexel). I’m not saying only try the old Houston Rockets offense and make everything either a three or a shot at the rim. But... this team’s sort of built for that far more than they are a mid-range game. Best to let SU’s shooters get past rough patches, while also giving the team’s hottest hand right now — Joe Girard — as much of a green light as possible.

Szuba: The 2-3 zone defense

This isn’t your father’s 2-3 zone. The Syracuse defense was lit up by Colgate, surrendering 100 points in a loss last Saturday. How will Syracuse bounce back defensively? Can Syracuse bounce back defensively? There are some gaping holes in the zone and how well Syracuse can plug the gaps will determine how well it does in the Battle 4 Atlantis. You can’t rely on your offense to bail you out every night.

Christian: Avoid Tyler Lydon Syndrome

In a way this is similar to John’s point. If you’ve read some of my past work here on the site, you’ll know I’m a big advocate of avoiding Tyler Lydon Syndrome. What angered me most about Tyler Lydon’s run at Syracuse was that as good of a shooter that he was, he was too hesitant to let a shot fly at various points throughout the game. A guy of Lydon’s shooting ability should be shooting more, and the same could be said for some of Syracuse’s shooters. The Orange coaches have consistently said that all they need to have their shooters do is shoot the ball, even if they’re out of a rhythm. Eventually the shots will fall. But like John said, limit those shots from mid-range. Those won’t win games.