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Syracuse men’s basketball: things to watch for vs. Cornell

The 81 Derby takes to the hardwood

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

When the Syracuse Orange and Cornell Big Red meet for the 82nd time tomorrow, the Big Red will be looking to end a long losing streak against the Orange.

Cornell hasn’t beaten Syracuse since 1968 and in that time, the Big Red have only been within single digits of the Orange on five occasions. How can Syracuse maintain their dominance? Here’s what we’re watching for:

Kevin: Control the tempo

Cornell enters this game averaging 32 3-point attempts per game, which leads the nation. The Big Red are also averaging 20 assists per game which means they are moving the ball to the open man. They want to play fast and take 3’s so Syracuse needs to get back on defense and force Cornell to play a patient game. Taking good shots, rebounding and getting back on defense can allow the Orange to dictate the pace and use their size to wear down Cornell.

Dom: Don’t make things easy for the Big Red

Cornell possesses two statistical advantages the Orange usually struggles against: high-volume three-pointing and superb ball movement. As Kevin said, this is a dangerous offense. As of now, Syracuse is giving up around 29 three-point attempts per game, right around the clip Cornell is taking per contest (by the way, Syracuse ranks just 167th in three-point defense). For the Orange, the team will need to minimize the empty possessions and cut down on turnovers. Otherwise, Cornell could pull a Colgate and just shoot its way to victory.

Christian: Last chance

Syracuse already had to play a fast, three-point shooting Cornell team. That was last season and the Big Red made things scary since they made threes. The Orange dominated inside to take the victory and it would make sense that Syracuse would have that interior advantage again. What that means is that the Orange forwards probably have one more chance to prove they can support Jesse Edwards on the inside and score. In a similar vein, the wing defense needs to be on-point to defend the perimeter. The Orange forwards need to show up. If not, an early trip to the bench against Cornell may become a permanent one.

Mike: Stop Sleepwalking into games

Monday's closer-than-preferred win over Monmouth had the usual slow start for the Orange offense. In that instance, you can at least blame their minds wandering to the Men's Soccer National Championship game being played at the same time. But for most of the season, the first 10 or so minutes of a game have Syracuse just going through the motions and struggling to get any real separation for scoring chances. That has to change ASAP so why not start now against a Cornell outfit that will probably give SU fits on the other side of the court with their perimeter shooting? Score early, score often.

Szuba: Let the big dawg chew Big Red

I’m Ricky Bobby and if Syracuse doesn’t chew Big Red...

Not, but seriously. Syracuse should feed Jesse Edwards all game. With all due respect to Sean Hansen and Keller Boothby, Cornell doesn’t have anyone that can thwart Edwards. Plus, the guy only has an offensive rating of 124.8, which ranks top 30 in the country (with at least 20% of possessions used). He’s also shooting 65.3% from the field. Syracuse could afford to throw it into him even more. Let the doubles come.

That’s what we’re watching for, now you tell us what you’ll be looking for tomorrow