Syracuse will go for its third straight win when it hosts Georgetown at the JMA Wireless Dome on Dec. 10 at 1 p.m. (TV: ABC). Here are five things to watch for in the matchup.
Can Syracuse keep this streak alive?
Syracuse’s matchup against Georgetown on Saturday represents the third game in a row in which the Orange will be favored. So far, Syracuse has done what the prognosticators have predicted, defeating Notre Dame on the road and then routing Oakland at home. Syracuse is nearly an 80 percent favorite according to the ESPN BPI against the Hoyas, who have gotten off to another rocky start in what is now Patrick Ewing’s sixth season as head coach. It remains a favorable schedule for the Orange after Georgetown, with winnable games against Monmouth, Cornell, Pitt, Boston College and Louisville after that. It’s not unreasonable to think, if SU takes care of business, that they could walk into early January 11-4 with a 4-0 record in the ACC. Still, that’s a big ‘if.’
Is Jesse Edwards in for another monster game?
In Jesse Edwards’ last two games, he’s averaged 20 points and 10.5 rebounds. Pretty good numbers considering that he only played 23 minutes against Oakland. When Edwards stays out of foul trouble, he’s been one of the most effective centers in the ACC. But Goergetown also features Qudus Wahab, now on his second stint with the Hoyas. He left for a season to play at Maryland before returning to the Hoyas for his senior year. So far, he’s averaging 10.3 ppg and 7.4 rpg in 22.6 mpg. At 6’11”, 245 pounds, he will present a bigger (figuratively and literally) challenge for Edwards.
Can Joe Girard stay consistent?
It has been feast or famine for Joe Girard. He’s averaged 19.5 ppg in his last two games after a three game stretch where he scored a combined 9 points. For the season, Girard is shooting 35.3 percent from downtown, down from his 40.3 percent from last year as he draws more attention from opposing defenses. Syracuse needs its starting shooting guard to be more consistent.
Will SU keep the ball moving?
Syracuse moved the ball the best that it has all season against the Golden Grizzlies, with 27 assists on 42 made baskets. Girard (6 assists), Benny Williams (6), Judah Mintz (5) and John Bol Ajak (3) were among the best distributors. Compare that to SU’s 73-44 drubbing against Illinois, where Syracuse only had 11 assists the whole night. When the ball moves, Syracuse is a much better team.
What did Jim Boeheim learn about his bench?
With Syracuse up 45-24 at half, and piling it on in the second half as well, Jim Boeheim got an extended look at his bench. Perhaps the biggest stock riser in the group was Maliq Brown, who in just 16 minutes scored 12 points and added 7 rebounds. Perhaps that performance opened up more playing time for Brown. On the other hand, Quadir Copeland seemed to press in his 11 minutes, going 1-6 to go with 2 turnovers.