Syracuse Orange men’s basketball: what to watch for vs Virginia

Syracuse Orange men’s basketball: what to watch for vs Virginia

The Syracuse Orange (13-9, 6-5) look to avoid a three-game losing streak when they welcome the Virginia Cavaliers (16-3, 8-2) to the Dome tonight.

Can the Orange turn things around against a balanced and experienced Virginia team or will Kihei Clark continue his career carving up the Syracuse zone?

Here’s what to watch for in the game between Syracuse and Virginia:

Kevin: Push the tempo

In the first meeting, Syracuse used the full-court press to cut a 23-point lead to 10. They didn’t create turnovers (Virginia had 10 for the game), but they broke the offensive rhythm the Cavaliers enjoyed that day. Tonight, the Orange can’t wait to come up big behind to drive the pace. Virginia wants to be patient and move the ball for open shots, but we’ve seen over the years that the acceleration can force them into poor shot selection and allow the Orange to get into transition.

Dom: Avoid an early deficit

We’ve made the point time and time again, but the Orange can’t afford to be down by double digits early in the first half against a program like Virginia. Syracuse was down 23 at one point in its last game against Virginia, and while the Orange played better late in the second half, it was also fortunate that the Cavaliers were held without a field goal for more than six minutes. in the second half. That lack of shooting fortune is unlikely to repeat itself this time around.

Mike: Cover the corners

The Orange rotation was so out of focus in Blacksburg that Hunter Cattoor almost anchored himself in the far corner and was still left wide open. Now the conference’s best long-range shooting team arrives to potentially be the newest zone-destroying opponent. I don’t know how much you can realistically fix in two days, but ‘Cuse doesn’t stand a chance in this game if the guards can’t get into position on the back end.

Christian: Help me

Brandon Shields is probably a name you don’t recognize, but you probably know his Twitter account @ShieldsOnHoops. He’s been great at breaking down Syracuse games this season, and he’s pointed out a flaw in Syracuse’s offense that has been a systematic problem for years that has flowed into this season.

It’s frustrating because there’s a lot of talent on the floor

An SR guard who can shoot it, an SR post who impacts the game, a freshman PG who is a handful

athletes at forward in Brown/Benny

guards in JT/CB who can shoot it down

But the offense is just DRIBBLING with no spacing/plan

— Shields on Hoops | Brandon Shields (@ShieldsOnHoops) January 29, 2023

Syracuse has the tools to be good on offense. Yet this team constantly shoots itself in the foot with people standing around waiting for something magical to happen. Look at the cohesion Virginia Tech has moved offensively on offense and compare it to the “movement” for Syracuse. You can’t afford to sit back and wait for something to happen against Virginia’s defense. Syracuse needs to think of something to consistently generate movement throughout the offense that doesn’t involve a drive with everyone watching.

Szuba: Threes galore

It’s hard to overlook the defense Syracuse didn’t play Saturday at Virginia Tech. The Hokies were open time and time again from the perimeter – the Orange will need to tighten the screws if it has any hope of defeating a methodical Virginia team. In the first meeting, the Hoos knocked down an uncharacteristic 12 threes. Tony Bennett’s side are effective from there, but do not rely on the deep ball to score. Can Syracuse lock in on defense or will we see more of the same from an unintimidating 2-3 zone?

That’s what we’re watching, now it’s your turn to tell us what you’re going to watch tonight.

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