The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team (16-14, 9-10) closes out the regular season against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (18-12, 10-9) as the team looks to get back on track before the ACC Tournament.
Syracuse has lost four straight, while Wake has won two of their last five. A win for Syracuse puts them into the 8/9 game against Wake in Greensboro while a loss could drop them to a Tuesday night 10/15 game.
Here’s what we’re watching for tomorrow night:
Kevin: Eating Good in the Neighborhood
Tyree Appleby is averaging 18.7 points and 6.3 assists per game. He’s shooting 37% from 3 and the way the Syracuse defense has played lately, Appleby could be sizzling like a steak fajita plate. You hope that pride kicks in for the home finale and the Orange make someone else beat them but this could be the game Appleby uses to enhance his ACC POY resume.
Mike: Senior Sendoff(s)
With the festivities for the ‘03 NCAA Championship team, fans might overlook that this should be the last Dome game for at least one Orange player. Jesse Edwards was pretty clear that he does not expect to be back next season - his family will be in attendance, and he spoke about what it could feel like playing “one last time” on this court. Meanwhile, Joe Girard is still undecided on whether he will return for a 5th year. Symir Torrence also hasn’t made a final decision yet per a dotcom report. Whether this is it for one, two, or all three of the seniors, they should play a big role in whether the regular season will end on a high note.
Dominic: No (major) embarrassment, please
As it is, the men’s basketball program is in total disarray over the past couple of weeks. with the 20th anniversary of the ‘03 title as the highlight of Saturday, it would be really awkward to get torched by 20-30 points at home with all the former legends in attendance. I’ll keep my take simple: the Orange need to at least make this a game.
Christian: If you can’t beat them, join them
A popular technique to thwart Syracuse’s offense over the past few seasons has been face guarding and playing tight against shooters. Obviously with a zone defense that isn’t necessarily feasible. But, if Syracuse does switch to man defense like it did against Georgia Tech, Orange defenders need to play tight to their man. Syracuse defenders are too used to being loose with their positioning and not tightly guarding their man. If Syracuse wants to see a sliver of defensive improvement, a tight man-to-man could be the start.
Szuba: Dome feel
Plenty of storylines to go around in this one. You have senior day for four players who will honored. There’s the retirement of Gerry McNamara’s and Hakim Warrick’s jerseys. Syracuse is playing to keep a first round bye in the ACC Tournament. And then of course there’s one Jim Boeheim. We won’t have answers to all of these storylines by the end of the game, but with all that’s going on, how does this one feel after the team suffered four straight lopsided defeats? Will the team rally or have the wheels truly fallen off the wagon? It should feel like a big time atmosphere, but given the current temperature around the program it could be deflating just as well.
What are you looking for in tomorrow’s game?