The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team (13-10, 6-6) is back on the road to face the Boston College Eagles (11-12, 5-7). The Orange hope to break its recent downward trend, entering the contest coming off three-straight losses, including two close matchups at home against North Carolina and Virginia.
Earlier this season, Syracuse defeated Boston College 79-65 on New Year’s Eve. Can the Orange do it yet again?
Here’s what to watch for between Syracuse and Boston College:
Dom: Beware of the slugfest
The Eagles rank as one of the worst-scoring teams in the ACC (especially from three, as Mike will explain in a few). However, BC does rank 6th in opponent points per game, allowing 69.1 points per game. If there’s any chance for an Eagles’ upset, it would be in a sluggish game where it has home court advantage. Syracuse needs to stay aggressive offensively and not play down to its opposition. Otherwise, it could come back to haunt them.
Kevin: Return of the bench
On Monday night. Jim Boeheim rode his starters (and Justin Taylor) for heavy minutes. Will he go back to a deeper rotation in another game that projects to be played at a slow tempo? Symir Torrence has been a steadying influence over the last few games and it seems like he’s earned more playing time. With the Orange in need of a win, it would be nice to see Boeheim trust his bench to provide a spark.
Mike: Dare them to shoot deep
BC is one of the worst three-point shooting teams in all of D1 basketball - No. 345 out of 363 in made baskets beyond the arc (29.4%). For once we shouldn’t have to watch the zone get shelled in that respect. It’s also one of the very few times that Jesse Edwards will have someone taller than him starting on the other side, but Syracuse has the luxury of crowding the Post and forcing the Eagles to try taking long looks.
Christian: Take care
A big reason for Syracuse’s famous slow starts this season has been turnovers. The shooting percentages have actually looked decent in the first half of recent games. However, deficits have come via a lack of ball control. This isn’t isolated on Judah Mintz either. Everyone on the floor has a tendency to force the issue in a position where they aren’t able to, losing control of the ball and turning it over. Syracuse comfortably won the BC game earlier this year despite turning the ball over 14 times. The Orange can’t get away with that again on the road, no matter how bad of a team the Eagles are.
Szuba: A Benny for your thoughts
Ok, I’ll bite.
Benny has been quiet for a while, both in the literal and figurative sense. We know he returned to practice this week after taking a personal day on Monday, but how does he play or does he even play at all in this matchup? The last time these two teams squared off, Williams had his best game of the season with a double-double. Needless to say, whatever Williams is dealing with, everyone from this fanbase wishes him the best as both player and especially as a person.
That’s what we’re watching for, now it’s your turn to tell us what you’ll be watching tonight.