Syracuse travels to Coral Gables, Florida to take on Miami Wednesday night looking for their second conference win of the season. Here’s a preview of the game.
- Teams: Syracuse Orange (7-6, 1-1 ACC) v. Miami Hurricanes (11-3, 3-0)
- Date: Wednesday, Jan. 5
- Game Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
- Venue: Watsco Center, Coral Gables, Fla.
- Network: ACC Network
- Spread: Miami (-2.0)
Fearless Prediction: Miami 86, Syracuse 79
The Juice Online Season Record: 1-1 (ACC)
If you’ve listened to a Jim Boeheim press conference this year, you’re probably heard this one before. The Orange simply are not the same tough zone defense they’ve been throughout Boeheim’s tenure, evidenced by their 102.1 defensive efficiency rating per KenPom.com. In Boeheim’s own words they’ve been “horrendous.”
Now part of this can be attributed to the construction of this roster favoring players that can score over dominant defensive players, but the real problem has been defensive mistakes- players being out of position, missing assignments, and playing slow because of confusion.
Boeheim for his part, has acknowledged this fact, saying it’s “100% responsible for our record” which at 7-6 is the worst through 13 games of the Boeheim era. If the Orange can take extra time working on their assignments leading up to this game, we should see less of the sloppy mistakes.
SLOW DOWN KAMERON MCGUSTY
On the subject of defense, the Orange will have to contend with a rolling Hurricane team led by the play of Kameron McGusty.
McGusty is on a tear his last two games, both ACC victories at home, averaging 17.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. McGusty has done most of his damage as a shooter (42.1% from the field, 42.0% from three), so Syracuse will have to be sure to tighten up the holes they’re leaving in the high post- too often the Achilles heel for the defense this year.
They’ll also need to make sure to avoid costly fouls, as McGusty went 10 for 11 from the free-throw line all in the second half, which helped seal their win over Wake Forest last week.
BIG GAME FROM GIRARD
While Buddy Boeheim is making a case for a First Team All-ACC Selection, for the Orange to beat a Miami team that’s won seven straight they’ll need a bounce back game from Joe Girard. In his last two games, Girard has played at least 30 mins in both but has only scored 5 points on 3 for 14 shooting in the Cornell game, and 3 points on 2 for 9 shooting last Saturday against Virginia.
This team is capable of scoring 80+ any given week and will need to the way Miami is getting contributions from their whole roster, but it can’t be all on Buddy’s shoulders.
I like Girard to bounce back and have a double-digit scoring game, and Jim Boeheim to get this team prepared and able to clean up some of their defensive miscues, but ultimately it won’t be enough against a surging Hurricanes team that has been pummeling their competition.