Well, that was a nice surprise. Sure, the Miami Hurricanes aren’t a top team to-date, but with the Orange’s current status any win in the conference will do.
The Syracuse Orange resume conference play on Saturday against the Pittsburgh Panthers, one of the top teams in the ACC — at least if you buy into their win over Virginia night. The Panthers stand at 12-3 and have won their only conference game in the young season.
A win will be hard to obtain, but if the Orange can play their game to perfection, another result like Wednesday’s could be attainable.
Can Tyler Lydon continue to dominate?
Tyler Lydon went through a change in their last game switching to the center position, a spot he hasn’t seen much time at this season. Lydon excelled playing center, using his craftiness and deadly shot to destroy the defense (similar to what he did at times last year).
His size is an issue as he is an undersized center to say the least, but if the last game showed anything, Lydon at the center position could—and hopefully will—bring a few positives for the remainder of the season.
What’s going to happen with the point guards?
Another successful change in the Miami win was the move to promote John Gillon above Frank Howard on the team’s point guard depth chart. Gillon started and played 38 more minutes than Howard, who came off the bench (Howard only played one minute).
Syracuse managed to win convincingly without a positive game from Howard, but the Orange can’t compete against every team in the ACC if Howard fails to make any impact at all.
How are the Orange going to contain the duo of Michael Young and Jamel Artis?
The Orange have their hands full against the Panthers as their top two scorers both average over 20 points per game. Forwards Young and Artis use their size and shooting ability to dominate defenses both by scoring and rebounding (they combine to average 13.5 boards per game).
If the Orange want any chance at pulling off this upset, containing Pittsburgh’s premier players is only the first place to start.
Can the Orange really win this game?
Coming into the season, Syracuse was supposed to be favored in these kind of games—at home against a competitive in-conference team. Well, the season hasn’t gone quite the way anyone expected to say the least, and now the Orange face the Panthers in a game not many expect them to win.
The Orange are starting to try new things in terms of their lineups, so maybe the Panthers aren’t going to be ready for the “new look” Orange. That’s as positive as it can get. The Orange need to play a near-perfect game to come out victorious, and elite play down the roster wouldn’t hurt their chances.