What to watch for: Syracuse v. Notre Dame

Marek Dolezaj goes up for a shot during the first half of Syracuse's 51-49 loss to Notre Dame. MANDATORY PHOTO CREDIT: Kicia Sears, The Juice Online.

Coming off a disappointing 73-44 loss to Illinois on Tuesday, the Orange will open ACC play when it travels to South Bend, Ind. to take on Notre Dame on Saturday at 12 p.m. (TV: ESPN2). Here are five things to watch for in the matchup.

Can Joe Girard snap out of it?

This is a repeat topic from the ‘What to Watch For Against Illinois’ from earlier in the week. For the third straight game, Joe Girard struggled, going 0-3 in 20 minutes of play for 0 points. That comes off his previous two games against Bryant and St. John’s where Girard scored a combined 9 points on 2-22 shooting. Going 2 for you last 25 isn’t going to get it done when you’re a senior lead, and Girard will need to find a way out of his shooting slump if Syracuse is going to get back into the win category.

Can Judah Mintz snap out of it?

While Girard has drawn more deadlines for his struggles, freshman point guard Judah Mintz has struggled over his last two games as well. He was 3-16 against Illinois for nine points. That comes after a 2-7 performance against Bryant before he was ejected during a skirmish against the Bulldogs. The coaching staff should be in Mintz’s ear about being more of a distributor when he’s struggling to score. Though Mintz had five assists, he also had four turnovers against the Illini.

Can Jesse Edwards stay out of foul trouble?

For the second straight game, Jesse Edwards fouled out after a sterling performance. Edwards hauled in 17 rebounds in the loss to Illinois, but only played 33 minutes because of foul trouble. Edwards needs to be more careful if he wants to play more minutes. The good news it that Syracuse got quality minutes from backup Mounir Hima, who scored 4 points and had 4 rebounds in 4 minutes against Illinois.

» Related: Syracuse routed by Illinois on the road

Will cooler heads prevail?

For the second straight game, a Syracuse player was ejected. Mintz was ejected from the loss to Bryant after several slaps led to a brief skirmish. On Tuesday, it was Benny Williams’ turn. Late in the game, Williams was fouled, but it was not called by the official. A visibly upset Williams was quickly given two technicals and tossed from the game. Syracuse needs to exhibit more composure in a road game against Notre Dame.

Can Syracuse contain Nate Laszeski?

Nate Laszeski, a senior forward, is off to an All-ACC caliber start to the season for the Fighting Irish. He’s averaged 18.2 points and 8.7 rebounds, while shooting 56.1 percent from the field and 45.8 percent from downtown. At 6 foot 10 and 230 pounds, he presents a difficult matchup for the zone.

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About Wes Cheng 2907 Articles
Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also been a contributing writer for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), for SportsNet New York (SNY) as a news desk writer covering all of New York professional sports, and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005 with a degree in journalism. Contact him at wes[at]sujuiceonline.com.