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Syracuse vs. Boston College preview: Five things to watch

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The Orange look to stop the cycle of alternating wins and losses.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Boston College Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

We meet again for the rivalry that isn’t! Coming off a win on Tuesday night, the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team is back home on Saturday to host the lowly Boston College Eagles in a game no one but these two fan bases (and even that’s debatable) will truly care about. When these teams met back in December, Syracuse won the game 101-63. They’ve also won 12 of 15 against the Eagles since joining the ACC and getting forced into this twice-per-year arrangement. We’ll take the wins, however!

In anticipation of these two teams facing off at the Dome Stadium, here are five things we’re watching for.

Ajayi: Not so trigger happy from three

Teams are starting to crack down on Syracuse shooting the three ball, compared to how many shots from behind the arc they were taking in the beginning of the season compared to now has changed. The Orange aren’t fully relying on the three ball to win games. It’ll be interesting to see if against Boston they decide to resort back to their old ways considering they were winning more games shooting that three ball a lot or if they will continue to attack the paint and get to the free throw line.

Christian: Don’t get cocky.

Syracuse, let’s talk. You set a program record in three pointers the last time you played BC. That’s great. You also shot the ball incredibly well. That’s great also. We all had fun watching that game. I’m sure you had fun playing it as well.

Don’t expect that to happen again.

This is not the same Syracuse team that scored at will at Conte Forum. This is an Orange squad that has grown increasingly inconsistent with shooting the ball as the season has progressed. Expecting the same shots to fall against the Eagles this time around will just lead to bad things. It’s a perfect trap game for Syracuse. If the Orange fire up shots like they’re Todd Bowles calling a blitz against the Chiefs in the Super Bowl, Syracuse won’t find the same success. Play hot potato with the basketball and pass the rock to create open shots. Firing at will is the perfect way to fall behind, lose, and decimate any shot the Orange have at making the tournament.

Kevin: End their hope early.

Boston College is in the midst of another miserable season but knocking off the Orange in the Dome would give them something to celebrate. It’s important that Syracuse come out early and eliminate their hope because the longer the game stays close the more motivation it will provide the Eagles. This is a game where Syracuse would like to not have to sweat it out down the stretch and getting some run for Jesse Edwards and Woody Newton would be a positive.

Szuba: Let it fly?

Syracuse has had great success on offense when attacking the rim and getting the ball in the paint. That said, the Orange are coming off a good shooting game at NC State, connecting on 9-19 (47.4%) from deep. Do we see Syracuse stick to what’s worked over the course of the season, or revert to shooting the ball from deep against Boston College? In the first meeting between these two teams Syracuse set a program record for made threes (16) and shot 51.6% beyond the arc.

John: Defend well against the three

Look, I’d love to pile onto Jim Christian having another horrendous campaign (his last, I’m certain) at BC. But this team isn’t horrendous, and they do rely on three-point shooting — where 39.1% of their scoring comes from. That’s potentially alright for SU, who’s only allowing 30.9% shooting from three (57th overall). Granted, I still think that’s artificially inflated a bit, since three of the last four opponents have hit well above that. But Syracuse should be alright as long as they can avoid getting torched from outside.