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Syracuse men’s basketball: what to watch for vs Boston College

It’s a late tip so be prepared

NCAA Basketball: Boston College at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange (10-4, 1-2) are finally back in action tonight when the Boston College Eagles (10-4, 1-2) come to the JMA Wireless Dome. Game tips at 9:00 on the ACC Network and here’s what we’re watching for:

Kevin: Defensive discipline

Center Quinten Post is BC’s best player and he’ll rightfully draw plenty of attention. However, BC’s shooting 37% from 3 on the season so the Orange can’t afford to leave shooters open as they collapse on Post. It might be a good strategy to let Post get his shots while not giving the other Eagles chances to hit 3s.

Dom: How the small-ball lineups hold up

BC boasts a top-five scoring offense in the ACC coupled with top-five marks in both field goal percentage and three-point percentage. Post will command a lot of attention as Kevin noted, and if Naheem McLeod can only play spot minutes, Autry will really have to rely on Maliq Brown to anchor the defense. Rebounding shouldn’t be much of a concern, but it’ll be fascinating to see if the small-ball lineups can work against a more traditional, two-way center like Post.

NCAA Basketball: Boston College at Georgia Tech Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Mike: Patient play

These two squads are evenly matched when it comes to fouls and ought to play cautiously from the tip, waiting for the other to slip up. The Orange need Maliq Brown and Quadir Copeland to be collected until they get opportunities to cause turnovers, then capitalize on those fast break chances to pull ahead.

Szuba: Outside shooting

Okay, I’ll take the obvious. Syracuse needs to find some outside shots for Chris Bell and Justin Taylor. Will the Orange offense look to run those two off screens and free them up for open shots? Syracuse doesn’t need to make double-digit threes to win games, but if Bell and Taylor could combine for four or five made threes a game it would take some pressure off of the other areas within the game.

Max: Watch the turnover battle

BC is one of the nation’s bests at not turning the ball over (13.5% rate, eighth in NCAA), while the Syracuse defense thrives at forcing mistakes (20.7% opponent turnover rate, 43rd best). Both these teams play at a high tempo, so if the Orange can cause turnovers, expect them to find more open looks in transition. Given their importance in this one, whichever team wins in the turnover department is almost certainly winning this game.

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What will you be watching for tonight?