Syracuse hits the road with a chance at a quad 1 win that would certainly be useful in a few months. Staring at the paper, SU doesn’t have a chance in this game. The BPI gives the Orange about an 11% chance to win. There’s no betting line yet but it will probably be in the neighborhood of ten to twelve points.
There are certainly things to consider though before writing this off as a loss. Duke has lost two of its last four to a pair of teams that Syracuse either beat or nearly beat. Miami shocked a then-2nd ranked Blue Devils team 76-74 in Cameron Indoor. Earlier this week, Florida State edged out the Dukies 79-78 in overtime.
SU lost to the Canes by one point after turning it over the whole game. ‘Cuse also split with FSU in a pair of very competitive games. So looking at common opponents raises some eyebrows and perhaps injects some confidence into Orange Nation. Here are three things that Syracuse must do to take down the ACC’s best team:
Get to the Free Throw Line
Looking back at Duke’s most recent game, FSU shot under 35% from the field and 28% from beyond the arc and they still won. How? The Seminoles went to the line 25 times. On top of that, only three attempts came in overtime so the bonus basketball wasn’t a big outlier.
The Noles tallied 20 points alone just at the charity stripe. This was actually uncharacteristic for the Blue Devils. They rank 2nd on KenPom in FT rate allowing just under 19 free throw attempts per 100 possessions. So if Syracuse can penetrate and draw fouls they could benefit big time.
Allow JG3 to Get his Shots
The Glens Falls native had a huge night on Tuesday. The point guard cashed in 23 points on 4-5 shooting from beyond the arc and seven free throws. On top of that, JG3 had a 5-2 assist to turnover ratio. If the junior can continue to play smart basketball this team could cause some problems on the offensive end.
One of the biggest differences for the shooter was that he wasn’t forced to run point the whole game. Symir Torrence played 14 minutes off the bench and added four points with two assists. When the Marquette transfer is in the game it allows for Girard to slide to the 2 spot. JG3 is much more comfortable in this spot and can hunt his shot. If the three ball is falling for the junior, SU will stay in this game. Girard will also need to get aggressive and drive to draw some contact.
Force Turnovers and Score Touchdowns
Of course you’d love Syracuse to do this every game but this is how tomorrow’s affair will be won. Miami and Florida State both caused 15+ giveaways while only turning it over five times themselves. Think back to the game down in Coral Gables. The Hurricanes dominated the second half by turning up the pressure. If Syracuse can take it away and get loose in transition it’ll be in a position to walk out of Cameron Indoor with a massive victory.