In a world where TV contracts prevent conferences from reaching their full potential, there’s always basketball to dunk on our souls while the darkness settles.
Yeah I have no idea what I just wrote, but I guess the other guys are ok with it. Basketball time! (Sorry Kevin, John and Sean)
The Syracuse Orange are on the road for their toughest and most important stretch of the year, taking on the top four teams in the conference. Up first for the Orange is a trip down to South Bend to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who continue to see-saw in form year after year.
Before you grab your popcorn for the 7:00 pm ET start on ESPN... News? ESPNNews? Anyways, here’s what you need to watch out for during tonight’s game.
Christian: The stretch big man
For understandable reasons, the Syracuse scouting report will probably focus on Dane Goodwin, Blake Wesley and Paul Atkinson Jr. However, the Orange cannot forget the threat that Nate Laszewski presents. Sure his shot opportunities have dropped but the big man still averages 44% from three point land and 6.7 rebounds per game. He could be anywhere inside or out to give Prentiss Hubb another option to pass to from the middle of the zone. The last thing this Syracuse defense needs is someone to stretch the zone.
Kevin: Patience on offense
As the Orange embark on their third game in five days they need to make Notre Dame work on defense. Syracuse has to move the ball and get good opportunities and not let quick shots turn to run outs for the Irish. If they want to leave South Bend with a win it will require efficient offense.
Szuba: 3-point salvo
It wouldn’t surprise if this was the kind of game that turned into a shootout. Notre Dame takes 43.5% of its total field goals from 3-point land while Syracuse allows opponents to take half their shots from deep. Syracuse, meanwhile, takes 39.1% of its shots from outside while Notre Dame has stifled teams from beyond the arc at various points, Syracuse is more reliant on the three now especially with Jesse Edwards sidelined, shooting a strong 37.8% from beyond the arc. Both of these teams rank in the top-40 nationally in 3-point percentage. Let it fly.
Zeke: Syracuse’s improved shooting efficiency
We all know this team, when connecting, shoots the leather off the ball. They lead the whole ACC in three pointers made and average 9.1 threes made as a team per contest. Against Georgia Tech though, Syracuse’s offense was held to one of its most inefficient games shooting the ball of the entire season. The Orange shot 32.9% from the field and 31.3% from distance against the Yellow Jackets. If Syracuse wants to win this game, their shooting is going to have to turnaround quick to get their third straight win.