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Syracuse men’s basketball vs. Florida State preview: Things to watch

Other than “the game,” obviously.

NCAA Basketball: Indiana at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Secretly, the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team has gone nearly five years since they last beat the Florida State Seminoles. Granted, they also haven’t played FSU since February 2020, and the last SU win was actually an upset over a top-10 ‘Noles team. But don’t stress yourself with those details. Past results rarely indicate future returns.

These squads tip off their respective ACC seasons on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET down in Tallahassee (and on ACC Network for most of us at home). But before that, some things you may want to pay attention to in this one:

John: Who’s stopping Jesse Edwards?

Other than foul trouble? (/ducks)

Florida State’s not an amazing rebounding team, and it’s biggest players aren’t necessarily getting big minutes this year, which likely is adjusted against Syracuse and the one-man efficiency machine that is Edwards. Even without a 7-for-7 performance like we saw against Indiana, the Orange big man could still wreak some havoc against the ‘Noles, especially if he can get going on the boards. To prevent that, it probably means more minutes than usual for the likes of Malik Osborne (average 27.4) and John Butler (average 14.6) — especially with Tanor Ngom unlikely to appear in this game.

Kevin: Will fatigue be a factor?

50, 47, 44. Those are the minutes played on Tuesday night by Buddy Boeheim, Jimmy Boeheim and Joe Girard. Florida State’s leader in minutes played per game is Malik Osborne with just over 27 minutes per game. The Seminoles aren’t as talented as last year but Leonard Hamilton is going to throw a lot of bodies at the Orange, especially on the perimeter. How will the Syracuse guys hold up to the pressure after the battle against Indiana? For a team that relies on outside shooting and activity in the zone, this could become an issue.

Szuba: Turnovers

A big key to Syracuse’s win over Indiana was the fact that the Hoosiers turned the ball over 26 times. Syracuse was out-rebounded by 15 against Indiana and found a way to win. We should fully expect Syracuse to get beat on the boards by a decent margin against this athletic Florida State team, but can the Orange defense step up and make a turnover-prone Seminoles squad cough up possessions? On average, Florida State turns it over once every five possessions. That could be a winning number for Syracuse.

Christian: Well let’s try it again

For the time that it appeared, I was a fan of the 1-3-1 defense that Syracuse ran against Indiana in the first half. It led to the majority of the 26 turnovers that the Hoosiers had against the Orange. The thing with the Syracuse 2-3 zone is that it’s so unique that it catches opponents off-guard. But now the ACC has seen it for eight years. Coaches and players have adjusted to the 2-3. Switching it up to the 1-3-1, which proved effective, can force FSU to think and adapt for a few minutes, which might by all that Syracuse needs to jump out to a lead.


That’s what we’re watching for tomorrow, let us know in the comments what you’ll be looking to see.