Syracuse will try to get back in the win column when it returns home to face Oakland (8:00 p.m. ET / ESPNU) at the Carrier Dome. Ahead of the game, The Juice Online’s Jim Stechschulte and Wes Cheng give their predictions below.
JIM STECHSCHULTE: Oakland is a below-average offensive team, in large part due to making just 28.6 percent of their threes and turning the ball over on 18.1 percent of their possessions.
While 6’7” forward Xavier Hill-Mais is a load down low and combines with 6’7 forward Daniel Oladapo for over 26 points and 14 rebounds per game, the Golden Grizzlies are not an overpowering inside team. The operate at a drag, ranking 330rd in the nation in pace.
Syracuse gets a steal on every ninth possession on defense, which matches how Oakland turns it over in live-ball situations. Look for the Orange to sag in their 2-3 zone and generate turnovers to create transition opportunities.
SU will take out a some of their frustrations on their guests, beating the Golden Grizzlies, 71-54.
WES CHENG: Despite Syracuse’s 5-5 start, the worst under the Jim Boeheim era, the Orange is currently sitting at No. 53 in the KenPom rankings. That’s actually a surprising seventh among ACC teams, ahead of other programs like Notre Dame (8-3 overall record, 62 in KenPom), Pittsburgh (8-3, 73) and Wake Forest (6-5, 90).
Yes, five losses this early in the season has raised many concerns among Orange fans, but take a look at where those five teams sit in the KenPom rankings:
- Virginia: 9
- Oklahoma State: 30
- Penn State: 24
- Iowa: 46
- Georgetown: 43
Given the strength of schedule early in the season, the Orange may not be as bad as their record currently shows. Boeheim offered a similar assessment following an 89-79 loss to the Hoyas on Saturday.
“We’re not in a great position,” Boeheim said. “But we’re not in as bad a position as everybody thinks we’re in.”
Oakland sits at 172 in the KenPom rankings, with a below average offense (ranked 202) and a mediocre defense (148). The closest comparison team SU has faced this season is Colgate, currently ranked 133.
Don’t expect an upset at the Carrier Dome on Wednesday, but Syracuse isn’t going to run away with this game in the same vein as Bucknell (211). The Orange pull away in the final 10 minutes for a 72-58 win.