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

Hoya Hate Week never gets old.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Georgetown Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

It’s December, which means it’s time for the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team’s annual matchup versus the Georgetown Hoyas. Nothing like a little former Big East rivalry game.

Syracuse (5-4, 1-0) is coming off a dominant 29-point home victory against Oakland, while Georgetown (5-5) looks to avoid falling back below .500. No, neither of these programs are as dominant as they were decades ago. - but hip-hip hooray for nostalgia.

Nonetheless, the story of the game will be the Ring of Honor ceremony for head coach Jim Boeheim and former Syracuse star guard Pearl Washington. Oh, and the subtle tomato throwing between the Orange and Hoyas fanbases.

With all that said, what are we looking for out of SU in this one?

Dom: If you cut down the turnovers, you should seal the deal.

On paper, the matchup versus the Hoyas should be a straightforward one. Georgetown sits in the middle of the pack in points per game and points allowed per game in the Big East. Per KenPom, the Hoyas rank as the 154th-best team in the NCAA, compared to the Orange’s 80th-placed ranking. The only thing Georgetown has been successful at this season is producing tons of turnovers and thriving in chaos, with the Hoyas forcing the second-most turnovers and blocking the second-most shots per game in its conference. If Syracuse can control the ball, it’ll be hard for the Hoyas to muster enough efficient offense in this contest.

Kevin: Rebound the Hoyas’ misses

The Hoyas aren’t going to force the ball inside but their interior duo of Qudus Wahab and Akok Akok combine for sixteen rebounds per game. Jesse Edwards is the only Syracuse player averaging more than 3.5 rebounds per game so it’s going to take a collective effort by the Orange to keep them off the glass. Turnovers and second-chance points are how the Hoyas can win this game and Syracuse needs everyone to be willing rebounders on the defensive end tomorrow afternoon.

Szuba: Forward rotation

It’ll be interesting to see what Jim Boeheim does with the forward group in this game. John Bol Ajak has been seeing his minutes log increase thanks to his ability to rebound, facilitate and defend. Syracuse will need offense from the forward spot, though, so can Benny Williams do enough on both ends and will Chris Bell/Justin Taylor continue to see time with their shot-making? Maliq Brown also made things interesting in the blowout win over Oakland.

Mike: Make up for past sins

If you don’t remember last year’s game in D.C., all I can say is good for you. I haven’t been able to suppress that embarrassing loss to a Hoyas squad that would not win another game the rest of the season. With the day’s festivities honoring the two men who built ‘Cuse basketball into a nationally recognized program, there is zero excuse to play down to the competition again. And if this ends up being Jim Boeheim’s last game coaching against Georgetown? A loss here would become the new “Manley Field House is Closed.” Do not let that happen.

Christian: Consistently good

Syracuse needs Jesse Edwards for this game.

Now copy that down somewhere and be ready to paste it for the rest of the season.

The good thing about the recent stretch Edwards is having is that he is staying on the floor. Syracuse’s star has only one combined foul over the last two games against Notre Dame and Oakland. Now part of that is because of the opponent, but Edwards is still getting challenged inside by opponents, especially when the zone gets penetrated. The Orange face another opponent where the big men don’t foul out a bunch. Edwards needs to stay in in order to keep up with Wahab and Akok. Limiting the fouls is another way that Edwards can show that he has the ability to carry the Orange through some tough stretches in the ACC.

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