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Syracuse men’s basketball: what to watch for vs. Monmouth

With Hoya Hate Week over, it’s back to business for the Orange.

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

Unfortunately, we can’t declare this season to be a success just because the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team crushed the Georgetown Hoyas soundly by double-digits.

Instead, the Orange (6-4) have a quick two-day turnover as the team gears for another home game, this time against the Monmouth Hawks (1-9).

Syracuse hopes to secure its fourth-straight win of the season with ACC play looming on the horizon, while Monmouth is looking to just make things interesting after a dismal start to this season.

With Syracuse fans in their era of good feelings right now, can the Orange keep the winning trend going? Here’s what to watch for in the Monday night matchup:

Dom: Get Girard going early

After a slow start to the season, Girard has quietly performed either average or well in his past three contests. He’s scored between 15-20 points in his last three games, looking much better at getting his shot and finding a way to get going with teams gearing their defense toward stopping him off the ball. Against Oakland earlier this year, Girard had one of his best performances this season. With ACC play about to ramp up, another solid Girard performance could be a great confidence booster and a reminder that this year’s Orange need him to be an impactful player moving forward.

Kevin: Avoid the hangover

Syracuse got a solid win on an emotional Saturday afternoon. Now they have to turn around, and with final exams looming, welcome a 1-9 Monmouth team that’s one of the worst in D1. This would be the ideal game for Jim Boeheim to give minutes to Quadir Copeland and Maliq Brown so it’s up to the Orange to start strong. As much as you loved the bench contributions, the reality is that this team is likely going to be a 7-8 rotation in ACC play. Tonight’s game should be one where the starters don’t need to play more than 20 to enjoy a comfortable win.

Christian: Join the party

Despite an overall size disadvantage, Syracuse dominated Georgetown in the paint, outscoring the Hoyas 46-22 under the basket. The majority of those points came from Jesse Edwards and Benny Williams. Logic also dictates that as more attention is diverted to guarding Edwards, more opportunities open up for everyone else. Syracuse doesn’t have the same consistent three-point shooting of recent seasons, so bullying the paint is a way the Orange can generate the offense that they have struggled to do at times.

Mike: Put on a show

This game is starting an hour late because of a certain other Syracuse team’s run to the College Cup. And believe it or not, SU is doing some smart marketing for once and letting fans into the Dome early for a watch party. Those should be the only Orange who face any sort of challenge. It will be up to Boeheim’s bunch to either keep the party going after the first ‘Cuse National Championship since 2015, or to pulverize a lackluster basketball team as a distraction. Either way, the backups should eat a lot of minutes. Maybe we’ll even see the walk-ons get some points on the board.

Szuba: Twos have been company, but threes are a crowd?

Syracuse has entered the grey-feathered portion of its schedule and not only does Monmouth represents the worst team the Orange will play all season, it also represents one of the worst three-point shooting defensive teams in all of the land. Although Syracuse is performing at some aspects better (defense) this season than last, the Orange is struggling to make outside shots. The Orange should absolutely feed Jesse Edwards in this game, but can the shooters get loose on the perimeter when the doubles come? Joe Girard, Chris Bell and Justin Taylor are your guys there. Syracuse will stay in the dub club to make it four straight, but can the shooters find rhythm?

What will you be watching for in today’s game?