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Things to watch for when Syracuse men’s basketball travels to Virginia Tech

A road test with the Orange at less than full strength

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Virginia Tech Michael Thomas Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange (13-11, 7-6) men’s basketball team has their first four-game winning streak of the 21-22 season but now they must go the rest of the way without Jesse Edwards manning the middle. Can they still find a way to grab a Q1 win when they travel to face the Virginia Tech Hokies (14-10, 6-7) on Saturday evening. The Hokies have also won four in a row but the last three were against Georgia Tech and Pitt. Here’s what we’ll be looking for when these teams meet:

Kevin: How will the Orange defend without their center?

Virginia Tech is 2nd in the nation in 3-pt shooting hitting at 42% which means Syracuse needs to extend the zone to find the shooters. That’s going to lead the Hokies leading score Keve Aluma with space to operate and no Jesse Edwards to deter him. Will the Orange trust Frank Anselem (and Bourama Sidibe?) to try and contain Aluma or will they look to collapse and hope the Hokies miss shots? This is a less than ideal opponent for the Orange in the first game without Edwards so they might need to turn this one into a shootout.

Zeke: Growing Pains

Syracuse has some serious adjustments to make with Jesse Edwards out for the season. Because of this unexpected wrench in their season, expect Syracuse to start tinkering with line-ups Saturday. The most likely scenario is Frank Anselm gets the starting nod at center but don’t be surprised if Jimmy also sees some time at the five when Syracuse goes small. VT is going to be an uphill battle but if the rest of the team plays with the conviction and poise that fans have seen over the course of this four-game win streak, expect a great game.

Szuba: Aluma-nating

Yep, Kevin touches on it above but how is Syracuse going to handle Keve Aluma inside with guys like Hunter Catoor, Nahiem Alleyne and Storm Murphy outside? Last season Aluma was held in check at Syracuse with 2 points, 4 rebounds and 4 fouls on 1-10 shooting. Something tells me it won’t be so easy to contain Aluma this time around. Pick your poison here and hope the Orange can continue to get it done on the offensive end.


What are you watching for tomorrow night?