The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team (16-11, 9-7) hits the road to play a pivotal game against the Clemson Tigers (19-8, 11-5). This week’s road trip could be critical for Syracuse’s attempts to get out of that 8/9 game at the ACC Tournament.
Here’s what we’re watching for tonight
Kevin: Limit Hunter Tyson
The Clemson senior is averaging 15.5 points and 9.8 rebounds in home games this year. Tyson’s doing this while shooting 49/42/85 so he’s been very efficient in Littlejohn Coliseum. Syracuse has had trouble locating shooters all season so they can’t afford to let Tyson get going in this one.
Mike: Bring Back the Consistency
Syracuse couldn’t get much going offensively against Duke, to the point where Coach Boeheim seemed to be throwing darts for deciding lineup combinations. Still, take away that bump in the road and the Orange have been steadily scoring in the 70s as of late. Jesse Edwards is pretty evenly lined up against P.J. Hall so look for him to return to offensive form alongside Judah and Joe.
Dom: Down the usual path
We’ve seen this before with other great-to-elite offensive teams in the ACC, but Clemson ranks third in the conference in three-point percentage but 10th in three-point volume. That shouldn’t be a concern, except the Orange’s 2-3 zone is prone to giving up more perimeter shots in favor or extra rim protection and forcing turnovers. Shades of Syracuse’s nightmare earlier this season against Virginia Tech make the Clemson matchup feel like potential deja vu.
Christian: Man on the island
Last season, Syracuse got more comfortable in the game when PJ Hall wasn’t in the game. That allowed Jesse Edwards to settle in at get stuck into the action. This year, Clemson is coming into this game as a better team but not inform. If the threes mysteriously don’t fall like the last game for the Tigers, look for them to attack with reckless abandon at the paint. That means Edwards should expect to have his hands full.
Szuba: Rebounding battle
Clemson isn’t a good rebounding team, grabbing just 34.4 rebounds per game and it certainly doesn’t offensive rebound the ball like Duke. The Tigers are ranked No. 338 in the country in offensive rebounding percentage. That should be a relief for a Syracuse team that surrendered a 38-25 rebounding disadvantage to the Blue Devils. So, can the forwards help Jesse Edwards in that department and can Syracuse win the battle of the boards?
What will you be watching for in tonight’s game?