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Syracuse vs. Notre Dame: Three things to watch

The Orange are going up against a balanced scoring attack, and a win can only be had if everyone shows up.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Virginia Tech
How will Andrew White III handle the pressure?
Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange (11-8, 3-3) are running out of time.

The season is slowly but surely coming to an end as the Syracuse Orange only have 12 more opportunities to dig themselves out of this hole. The surprisingly slow start to the season has left the Orange questioning if they can make it into the Big Dance, and with the season winding down the Orange need to make some noise fast.

Notre Dame is a great place to start. The Fighting Irish are ranked 15th, with a 16-3 overall record. Their balanced scoring attack has allowed them to not only dominate non-conference play, but they’re also tied for first in the ACC. It’s going to take a complete performance from Syracuse to pull this one out, but if they want to turn their season around, a win tomorrow (and most games going forward) is a must.

Who’s going to help out Tyler Lydon?

The slow to start to his season has been over for a while, so any blame towards Lydon should be coming to an end. He has been on fire lately, dominating from behind and inside the arc. This is the kind of player SU fans thought they’d be seeing all year, but basketball is a team sport and the 6-foot-9 forward can’t do it by himself.

Tyus Battle is starting to get the hang of things as his confidence is at an all-time high. Battle is averaging 15.5 points per game over his last four appearances, and for the Orange to pull off the upset on Saturday they are going to need dominant performances from their two most recent stars. The Orange are going to need help from everyone to pull this one off, and if Lydon and Battle continue their hot stretch, all SU needs are a few threes from across the roster.

How can the Orange stop Notre Dame’s balanced offense?

Syracuse hasn’t seen a lot of teams like this one. The Fighting Irish have four players averaging double figures not only overall but in the ACC too. Three of the four stars are lethal from long range, as the fourth scorer uses his size to dominate the glass too. The Orange have had some trouble stopping their opponent’s best player, and now that they are going up against four scorers, SU could be in trouble.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Virginia Tech
Who’s going to show up tomorrow?
Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

One of the other forwards has to show up

Taurean Thompson and Tyler Roberson are the keys to the Orange pulling off this win. They know what they are going to get from Lydon and Andrew White III, and hopefully Battle can keep his hot play going. Thompson and Roberson have a chance to be the difference maker in this game using their very different style of game to dominate the Irish.

Thompson’s ability to score inside and outside the arc allows him to make the defense think twice about helping off. Roberson can impact this game by having a “Duke-like” performance and destroy the defensive and offensive glass. Syracuse isn’t asking for superstar performances, but if these two bigs can play their role then the Orange may be able to shock the country.