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Syracuse men’s basketball: Orange need their stars to deliver against tough opponents

It’s crunch time so Syracuse needs their best players to deliver

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

The Syracuse Orange have been put a lot of the offensive burden on three players this season. With opportunities to play into the NCAA Tournament winding down, the Orange need this group to carry them over the final six games.

Joe Girard, Judah Mintz and Jesse Edwards have delivered in ACC play. Girard leads the way at almost 19 points per game while Edwards has been very efficient around the rim while pulling down nearly 10 rebounds per game. Mintz has struggled with his outside shooting but he’s been getting shots to fall near the rim and has nearly 5 assists per game. This trio have carried Syracuse in ACC play.

However, these players have not been as good against Top 100 opponents (this includes Illinois and St John’s). Look at the categories below and you can see what I mean. Mintz has scored a bit higher against better competition but Girard (six points) and Edwards (two points) are both below their ACC averages. The three players are not shooting as well when faced with better teams and with five top 100 opponents remaining, it’s a trend that Syracuse needs reversed.

Part of Syracuse’s problem with closing out big wins is related to the inefficiency of the go-to players in these games. If the Orange are going to close out the season and make a run to the bubble conversation, they are going to need their best players to elevate their games over the final six games, beginning tonight.

Jim Boeheim asks a lot of these three players on the offensive end. After nearly a week off, they should enter tonight’s game as rested as they will be all season, which makes it important that they respond to the challenge presented by NC State. If not, the Road to March Madness will become a lot more daunting.