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

Can the Orange slow down a high-scoring Cornell team?

NCAA Basketball: Cornell at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange (5-3) hope to get back in the win column when the Cornell Big Red (7-1) make the trip up I-81 to take on the Orange. Here’s what we’re watching for in tonight’s game:

Kevin: Defending the arc

Virginia got plenty of open looks from deep over the weekend and the Big Red like to fire early and often. Cornell comes into the game averaging 28 3-pt attempts per game and over 85 points per game. Cooper Noard is hitting 49% from deep so far this year to lead the Big Red. Syracuse is going to have to communicate on defense and stay disciplined when it comes to helping.

Max: Drive to the bucket

Syracuse’s offense is most efficient when attacking the rim, not when settling for outside shots. Cornell’s suspect defense plays right into SU’s strengths, as the Big Red have allowed almost 60% shooting from 2-point range through eight games. Good things will happen for the Orange if Judah Mintz and J.J. Starling can create havoc down low on offense.

Mike: Don’t Rely on a Rally

A couple weeks ago, an in-state opponent wearing red uniforms came into the Dome and built a massive lead over the Orange, forcing SU to play very aggressively to revive themselves in the second half. Sure the press defense can help some when SU is behind... but they got extremely lucky. I’d love to reference the Dr. Doof meme if it does happen again tonight, but we can’t expect ‘Cuse to constantly bail themselves out if the offense continues to start slow.

Dom: Discipline on defense

Cornell’s offense is weirdly (but effectively) balanced: seven difference players are averaging between 6.9 and 12.4 points per game. Players for the Big Red who are playing sizable roles are all pretty much shooting above the NCAA average for three. Syracuse can’t just rely on shutting down one particular scorer because about 4-5 players on this team can all get hot shooting the ball at any time.

Szuba: Forget about Saturday

It’s important to learn from every game, but sometimes it’s more important to take what you can from each game and just forget about it. Saturday’s game at Virginia was one of those kinds of games. It looked like the Orange was over-helping on defense and we know it struggled offensively against Virginia’s stout defense. But that’s a game you just try to forget about and move on. Syracuse proved it could bounce back quick from defeat with a win over Chaminade in Maui. Can it do the same against Cornell?

What will you be watching for tonight?