Syracuse will go for its fourth straight win when it hosts Monmouth at the JMA Wireless Dome on Dec. 12 at 8 p.m. (TV: ACC Network). Here are five things to watch for in the matchup.
What will Syracuse get from this game?
Though anything is possible, this game looks to be more of an exhibition game for the Orange. The ESPN BPI gives the Hawks a 4.6 percent chance to win this game, which may even sound generous as Monmouth is just 1-9 to start the season. Likely, Jim Boeheim will play his starters in the 20-minute range and open up his bench after that. That means players like Maliq Brown and Quadir Copeland will get extended time to make their cases for cracking Boeheim’s slimmed-down rotation.
Can Judah Mintz continue to distribute?
Boeheim has been adamant all season that his freshman point guard, Judah Mintz, look to get his teammates more involved in the offense. Mintz heeded his coach’s advice, dishing out a career-high 10 assists (eclipsing his previous career-high of five) in the Orange’s 83-64 rout of Georgetown on Saturday. He accounted for half of SU’s 20 assists on 30 made baskets, showing the potential of a high-powered SU offense.
Will John Bol Ajak see more playing time?
Ajak played double-figure minutes for the third time this season against the Hoyas, and for good reason. The forward scored a career-high five points to go with five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Ajak ran the high-low set effectively with Jesse Edwards, and also played stout defense, helping Syracuse limit the Hoyas to 6 of 25 shooting from beyond the arc. Ajak could potentially be the first forward off Boeheim’s bench against the Hawks.
How many shots will Jesse Edwards take?
As has been written many times before, the Syracuse offense should run through Jesse Edwards. Syracuse is 3-0 when Edwards takes 10 or more shots, and he took 14 shots, leading to 20 points, in SU’s win over Georgetown. Though Edwards is likely to only play 20 minutes, it’s still important that the Orange continue to look for him early in the game.
Can Joe Girard get back on track?
Joe Girard continued his inconsistent shooting, hitting just 2 of his 10 3-point attempts against the Hoyas. This comes one game after he shot 4 for 7 from downtown against Oakland. He’s shooting just 34.2 percent from distance this season, down from 40.3 percent from last year. That’s partially because, as the team’s only true outside threat, teams are focusing on him on defense. Syracuse should use this opportunity to get Girard some better looks.