This is as tough a game as it gets for the Syracuse Orange at home this season. The Louisville Cardinals enter the game with a record of 20-5, standing in a four-way tie for second in the ACC. Syracuse is a poor showing on Saturday, as their inconsistent play reappeared on the road in a loss against Pittsburgh.
The Orange have shown they can beat top ten teams in the Dome before, but the Cardinals are coming into town with a possible national title roster. It’s going to need to be a complete performance for SU to come out on top. If we’ve learned anything this season, though, it’s that this team does not quit when faced with a challenge.
How will Tyler Lydon respond?
Lydon has been great for the Orange as of late, finding the right holes on offense while also manning the paint in the zone. However, the early season struggles from Lydon showed up against Pittsburgh as he finished with a measly eight points and six rebounds. Lydon needs to be one of, if not, the best player on the floor for SU to shock Louisville. A showing like the one he had against the Panthers won’t get the job done.
How will the Orange contain the trio of Donovan Mitchell, Quentin Snider, and Deng Adel?
Louisville showcases a three-headed monster in Mitchell, Snider, and Adel as they use their fast paced tempo to terrorize teams. The trio have combined for 38.6 points per game this season which is close to half of the team’s points every game. They aren’t weak shooters from deep, so for the Orange to make the right stops down the stretch they will need to contain both Louisville’s driving ability and their long range efficiency.
Will the freshmen shine or hide?
Tyus Battle got all the glory against Clemson when he hit the buzzer beating shot to give Syracuse a much needed win. Despite his clutch shot, the freshman guard only finished with six points on 2-of-7 shooting from the field. The shot was great, but Battle needs to be more effective against Louisville as his shot has hit a slump as of late (he shot 1-for-5 for three points against Pittsburgh.)
The other freshman, Taurean Thompson, also failed to come through against Pittsburgh, managing only score four points in 16 minutes. Thompson is a hit or miss kind of player where he either contributes effectively towards a win or hides in shadows in a loss. Thompson can have a massive impact on this game for the Orange. He just needs to stay away from the shadow and shine in the moment.