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Syracuse men’s basketball: what to watch for vs NC State

Can the Orange channel some of Dave Bing’s shooting for this one?

NCAA Basketball: N.C. State at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange (13-6, 4-4) head into tomorrow night’s game against the NC State Wolfpack (13-6, 5-3) at the JMA Wireless Dome. Both teams enter after a loss and are looking to avoid sliding further back in the ACC standings.

Tip-off is at 7:00 on the ACC Network and here’s what we’re watching for:

Kevin: Ring the Bell

Put aside the defense and rebounding, Syracuse needs Chris Bell to knock down shots to open up the offense. He’s 3-10 from deep in the last four games, and while the percentage isn’t awful, he needs to be taking more shots for the Orange to be successful. The Wolfpack are an experienced team, but they are susceptible from beyond the arc. While it’s not the Orange’s strength, getting Bell back on track is going to be a key in this one.

Finn: Rebounding Effort

I certainly agree with Kevin in that Orange will need their shooters desperately over the coming weeks to open up the court. However, if shots aren’t falling, I still want to see better effort on the glass. Although ‘Cuse out-rebounded FSU this week, the effort and desire to chase the ball was simply lacking. Against an NC State team that is slightly worse than Syracuse at rebounding (35.8 RPG vs. 37.0), I expect the Orange to put in the effort on the glass that should earn them a comfortable win.

Mike: Make the Easy Shots

SU could not take advantage against the ACC’s worst fouling team on Tuesday - but they get the second-worst in this game. Getting to the line won’t be an issue, but taking advantage, especially early in the game, will be crucial. There should also be less resistance on the perimeter so Bell, J.J. Starling, or whoever else finds themselves open can’t waste their best looks.

Max: Don’t let DJ “burn” the Orange

At 6’9 275 pounds, DJ Burns Jr. is easily the biggest player Syracuse has had to face all season. He’s second on the Wolfpack with 12.1 points per game, and makes a living powering through defenders down in the paint. After seeing how the Orange handled the length and physicality of Florida State, they’ll need to change up their approach against Burns. Maliq Brown will probably do the bulk of defending on the big man, but if he gets into foul trouble, Burns could feast on Saturday night.

Szuba: Go DJ, That’s my DJ

Nice pull by Max so I’ll take NC State’s other DJ. Syracuse is going to have to keep DJ Horne in check. NC State is 7-0 when Horne scores 18 points or more. He shoots it 42.5 percent from three and represents the lone deep threat on this Wolfpack team, so Syracuse will have to lock in on him from the perimeter. We saw what could happen when the Orange let another team’s best player get going (Jamir Watkins). If Syracuse can’t limit the DJs, it actually won’t be a boisterous night in the dome.

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That’s what we’re watching for, now it’s your turn.