5 things to watch for in Syracuse’s matchup against Indiana (PA)

Jim-boeheim
Syracuse basketball head coach Jim Boeheim at the 2022 ACC Tipoff in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022. (Photo by Nell Redmond/ACC)

Syracuse will play the first of two exhibition games when it hosts Indiana (PA) at the JMA Wireless Dome on Tuesday evening. Here are five things to watch for.

1. Who starts at point guard?

This will come down to whether head coach Jim Boeheim wants to go with experience or raw talent. Symir Torrence proved he could be an effective point guard in SU’s final game against Duke, playing all 40 minutes against Duke, logging 7 points, 11 assists and 6 rebounds. But Boeheim is likely to turn to elite freshman Judah Mintz, a top 35 recruit according to ESPN. Even if Boeheim chooses Mintz, the minute distribution between the two will be interesting to track.

2. Who starts at wing?

Sophomore Benny Williams is locked into one spot. The question comes down to whether Justin Taylor or Chris Bunch will start opposite Williams. Both are athletic sharpshooters, though Boeheim mentioned that whoever doesn’t start will be the team’s sixth man. This is also an opportunity for one to show they are more worthy of the role. The minute distribution here will be another thing to pay attention to.

3. How much has Benny Williams improved?

Williams, a former five-star recruit, had a disappointing freshman campaign, averaging just 1.9 ppg and 1.4 rpg. But he showed signs of promise in a 97-72 loss to Duke at the end of the regular season, scoring 14 points and grabbing six rebounds. He’s had an entire offseason to recover and work on his game. He’s now SU’s most experienced wing, and will need to show significant improvement if the Orange is to make it to the postseason.

» Related: Syracuse’s Girard, Edwards named to Preseason All-ACC Teams

4. Who backs up Jesse Edwards?

There are three options here. Mounir Hima, a 6-foot-11 transfer from Duquesne, figures to be in the running, and could potentially be the first big man off the bench. But two other freshmen could be involved as well. Peter Carey is a bouncy, athletic center who could be a redshirt candidate, but there are some early reports he’s more up to speed than expected. Maliq Brown, a burly 6-8 forward, could also see minutes at center as well.

5. How much man-to-man defense does SU play?

Syracuse has not played man-to-man since its infamous loss to Le Moyne in the 2009 preseason. Boeheim has said multiple times that the Orange will come out of its vaunted 2-3 zone. The question is how much. Certainly he’ll use the preseason games to assess how effective it will be.

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About Rutger Sears 99 Articles
Rutger is a freelance writer and as a Syracuse native, has an affinity for all Syracuse University Athletics. From Donovan McNabb to Mike Powell, Rutger has seen greatness in many forms don an Orange uniform over the last 30 years. He covers all Syracuse athletics with a particular emphasis on football and recruiting.