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Syracuse women’s basketball: what to watch for vs. Louisville

It’s another revenge opportunity for the Orange at home.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Notre Dame at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team (14-7, 5-5) enters Sunday’s game with a chip on its shoulder heading into a home rematch against the Louisville Cardinals (15-8, 6-4).

Tip-off between Syracuse and Virginia is at 12 pm EST in the JMA Wireless Dome, with the game available for streaming on ESPN’s ACC Network.

The Orange are back to its winning ways coming off an 18-point victory Thursday night against the Virginia Cavaliers, looking to keep building some momentum going against the Cardinals (35th in NET ranking). Syracuse hopes to bolster its NCAA Tournament resume by securing a second-straight victory against a top-45 NET program.

More importantly, ‘Cuse seeks some payback in the JMA Wireless Dome after falling short to Louisville 86-77 on the road earlier this season against the ACC’s preseason favorites.

Here’s what to watch for in the contest between Syracuse and Louisville.

Question #1: How will Syracuse’s backcourt fare against the Cards?

Hyman was the Orange’s start of the night from its December 29th contest against Louisville, finishing with 27 points on hot shooting as Dyaisha Fair (13 points on 3/18 shooting) struggled to generate efficiency for ‘Cuse. With that said, Fair is coming off a season-best 36 points against the Cavaliers, while Hyman’s offense has cooled in the past couple of games.

As per usual, Syracuse will need one of its two big-time guards to step up, but against Louisville, it might need both to shine if it's looking to pull off some revenge at home.

Question #2: Will history repeat itself?

Both teams were scorching hot offensively in their last matchup against each other in a game that saw eight different players reach double-digits in points. Louisville shot 52% from the field in its last game against Syracuse, at the time the second-best opponent field goal percentage the Orange had given up in a game.

Syracuse has the offensive ceiling to win a scoring shootout, but I could also see this game play out more like the Orange’s near-upset against NC State where defense and turnovers could become a bigger factor.

Question #3: Can the Orange capitalize on a golden opportunity?

Every game is a “must-win,” but this is a unique situation for both programs. Syracuse enters this game coming off arguably its best performance of the season, generating 90 points against Virginia (45th in NET ranking) while shining late in the second half, something the Orange have typically struggled to do against the ACC’s best programs.

Meanwhile, Louisville is coming off back-to-back losses against NC State and Wake Forest, as the offensively-gifted Cardinals averaged 54 points in those defeats. In other words, Syracuse is matchup up against a tournament-bound Louisville program at just the right time.

If you’re coach Felisha Legette-Jack, letting the chance to upset Louisville slip away would be a tough pill to swallow.

Syracuse versus Louisville preview by the numbers

All-time: Syracuse is 6-17 all-time against Louisville, with the Orange looking to snap a six-game losing streak against the Cardinals. this includes a 4-5 record at home against Louisville.

Last matchup: On December 29th, Syracuse fell short against Louisville 86-77 in an offensive shootout.

Win/loss implications: A win gives the Orange another important victory for its tournament resume and its first home victory against the Cardinals since 2020, while a loss drops ‘Cuse below-.500 again in conference play.

Prediction: While I am not trying to ride the tide, Syracuse’s win against Virginia proved that the program won’t back down against the top-half of the conference. If Louisville’s hot shooting regresses to the mean even by a few percentage points, I could see that being the path to success for the Orange. I’ve (barely) got Syracuse holding off Louisville 74-68 at home.

Syracuse vs. Louisville Team Stats

Statistical Categories Syracuse Louisville
Statistical Categories Syracuse Louisville
PPG 75.1 73.4
Opponent PPG 66.1 64.8
Margin of Victory plus-9 plus-9.5
FG% 42% 47%
Defensive FG% 40% 40%
3FG% 30% 35%
Defensive 3FG% 27% 35%
FT% 72% 76%
RPG 42.2 37.2
APG 13.5 14.7
T/O 15.4 15.6
A/T ratio 0.9 0.9
SPG 10.6 8.7
BPG 4.3 3.8