They say the best thing to do after a tough loss is get right back to another game so maybe it’s not bad the Syracuse Orange (15-14, 9-9) men’s basketball team heads on the road to take on the North Carolina Tar Heels (21-8, 13-5) in Chapel Hill tonight. Here’s what we’ll be looking for when these teams meet for the first time with Hubert Davis as the UNC Head Coach:
Kevin: Rebounding anyone?
The Orange were completely dominated by Mark Williams on Saturday night and now get to face another All-ACC post player in Armando Bacot. The Tar Heels’ star is averaging 12.5 rebounds per game and with UNC finally finding some outside shooting this year he’ll have space in the paint against Syracuse. Can Bourama Sidibe continue to give the Orange strong minutes off the bench on this short turnaround? If Bacot controls the lane this could be another long night for the Syracuse front court.
Christian: The Kihei Clark strategy
Whenever Syracuse played Virginia the past couple of years, the idea has always been to turn Kihei Clark into a shooter. The same applies to UNC. While both Caleb Love and RJ Davis are second and fourth in Tar Heel points per game, it’s always difficult to make high-post jumpers. One of those two players will be in the middle of the zone, and at this point you don’t need me to tell you that the guards aren’t exact great at stopping the ball from getting to that area. The danger comes from Bacot and UNC’s perimeter shooters - primarily Brady Manek. Covering them instead of the facilitator in the middle of the zone is the primary concern.
Szuba: Syracuse bench
It’s hard to see a path for a Syracuse win tonight given some of the reasons Kevin and Christian mentioned above. But I’m curious to see what the Syracuse bench does given its extended run in the blowout to Duke. Will Bourama Sidibe have to battle Bacot if Anselem isn’t prepared? Can Benny Williams build off his career night against Duke and will Symir Torrence play after getting stitches and entering concussion protocol? If not, Syracuse might have to run Cole Swider up top for a bit unless Joe Girard and Buddy Boeheim are equipped to play all 40.
That’s what we’re watching for tonight, what are you looking for?