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Syracuse men’s basketball: what to watch for vs Chaminade

Have to avoid the 0 for Oahu

NCAA Basketball: Maui Invitational - Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. Syracuse Orange Steven Erler-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange (3-2) men’s basketball team returns to action to take on the Chaminade Silverswords in the final game of the Maui Invitational. The Orange will try to avoid a disaster against the DII squad.

This one officially tips off at 9:30 p.m. ET from the Stan Sheriff Center and is available on ESPNU/ESPN+. Here’s what to watch as you wait for Thanksgiving.

Kevin: See something fall

When you’re struggling shooting, they always say that you just “need to see one go down.” Well the entire Syracuse team needs that before they head back East. The Orange have taken a lot of bad shots but they’ve had some unfriendly bounces and they need to use tonight’s game to run some offense and gain some confidence. Things aren’t as dire as some fans think, but the half-court offense is lacking any sort of identity.

Mike: Find a Rhythm

Maybe the Orange just need to stop taking threes all together until uncontested looks open up... or maybe the lack of Hawai’ian shirts from the coaching staff (and presumably Jimmy Buffet music during team practices) is what’s thrown off their groove. Regardless, these guys need to loosen up now that they’re not massive underdogs to Top-15 opponents. Breathe in, ball out, move on.

Dom: Boost morale for the glue guys

When on the court, Judah Mintz played spectacularly... but he was also the only player from the Orange who played great in both games in the Maui Invitational so far. As Kevin and Mike both hinted at, Syracuse should overwhelmingly win this game. Regaining some confidence, particular for the role players who have struggled so far, is going to be crucial before Syracuse heads back for two big-time games: at home versus LSU and on the road against Virginia.

Max: Lots of three-point attempts

Chaminade knows it doesn’t have the size advantage in the paint, so its opted to launch 77 three-point attempts across its two games in the tournament. The Silverswords aren’t exactly great at making them, but they really don’t have any other options now with Naheem McLeod posted down low. The Orange should get whatever they want at the rim offensively, but they have a tendency to settle for the outside shot. This game could turn into a three-point contest quickly, especially in (hopefully) garbage time.

Szuba: Rebounding

The most glaring issue in this tournament is Syracuse’s inability to close out defensive stops and rebound. It needs to do that against Chaminade. Tennessee and Gonzaga are more physical teams, but the Orange has to do a better job of competing on the glass. JJ Starling and Quadir Copeland can’t be the team’s leading rebounders. And along those lines, if Syracuse is going to be without Benny Williams it puts that much more pressure on Chris Bell and Justin Taylor to rebound.

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What will you be watching for?