The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team (12-7, 5-3) hits the road again for a Saturday nooner against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (8-10, 1-7).
Syracuse is looking to bounce back from a tough loss to while Georgia Tech is in the midst of a four-game losing streak. Road wins are never easy, but the Orange can’t afford to drop this one.
Here’s what to watch for in the game between Syracuse and Georgia Tech:
Kevin: Bounce back Mintz
Judah Mintz has only been held under double figures scoring four times in his freshmen season. The first three came in a row when he was ejected against Bryant and struggled at Illinois and Notre Dame. How he responds after a rough outing at Miami the other night will be important to watch. This Syracuse team needs him to take the ball into the lane and make good decisions and against one of the ACC’s weaker defenses he should be able to do what he does best.
Dom: Attack the basket
Since its upset win over #17 Miami, the Yellow Jackets have lost its last four games, three of which by double-figures. Syracuse is catching Georgia Tech at a good time given its recent skid, but the Yellow Jackets do hold opponents to the second-worst three-point percentage in the ACC while showing an ability to get home from behind the arc occasionally. Given Georgia Tech’s lack of interior defense, this is a game where you’d expect Jesse Edwards to dominate inside while (as Kevin said above) seeing better opportunities for Mintz and the Orange’s guards to look for easy shots near the basket.
Mike: Don’t fear the free points
Georgia Tech is one of only two ACC teams to shoot below 70% at the free throw line (the other is BC). I’m not saying Syracuse should be completely reckless here, but they can afford to initiate a little more contact than normal. This would be a textbook Jesse game if not for GT C Rodney Howard’s increased minutes, so instead look for the Orange offense to spread the scoring around against a rather pedestrian defensive unit.
Christian: Back to basics
We’ve all preached one of the best ways to make the zone work is to avoid the ball getting to the high post. The most common way to do such a thing is for the guards up top to be active and deny that pass. Luckily, Georgia Tech isn’t a great scoring nor a great passing team. So this should be an opportunity to get back to basics as the high post position pulls Jesse Edwards out of rebounding position, a large factor in what allowed Miami to pull off the comeback against Syracuse earlier this week.
Szuba: Hold ‘em down
Georgia Tech’s offense is only better than two teams in the league (Boston College, Louisville). The Syracuse 2-3 zone hasn’t been great by any stretch, but it has improved as the season’s gone on. So the defense should look solid against a team that struggles to score and I’m wondering if the Orange can defensive rebound better than it did in the second half at Miami. Net net, if Syracuse can hold Georgia Tech in the 60s it shouldn’t have too much trouble winning this game. The Yellow Jackets are 2-9 when it fails to score 70 or more.
That’s what we’re watching for, now it’s your turn.