Syracuse travels to Louisville to play the Cardinals on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. (TV: ESPNU). Here are four things to watch for in the game:
Which forward will step up?
It’s been a revolving door of wings that have stepped up at various points throughout the season for the Orange. At times, starter Chris Bell (13 points against Cornell) has looked the part, other times it’s been Maliq Brown (11.5 ppg and 7 rebounds against Monmouth and Oakland). Quadir Copeland scored 10 points against Pitt, while John Bol Ajak had five points and five rebounds against Georgetown. Against Boston College, it was Justin Taylor, who played the final 13 minutes and hit a key pair of 3-pointers to help hold off the Eagles. Jim Boeheim will once again look to who has the hot hand against Louisville.
Can Syracuse start fast?
Over SU’s last five games, it’s gotten off to slow starts. That was once again the case against Boston College, with SU trailing 13-8 midway through the first half. For the most part Syracuse has been able to recover, but that wasn’t the case in a two-point home loss against Pitt. While Louisville only has two wins this season, the Orange still can’t afford to fall behind on the road early.
Will Syracuse’s hot shooting carry over?
Syracuse had one of its best shooting performances against Boston College, hitting 8 of its 16 3-point attempts. Joe Girard (4 for 10) led the way, but SU also got contributions from Benny Williams (2-2) and Justin Taylor (2-2). Williams shot just 9.1 percent from 3-point land in his freshman campaign, but he’s up to 41.2 percent this season, and has continued his maturation into a key piece of the SU offense.
Can Louisville put up a fight?
Louisville is in the midst of a historically bad season, with its two wins coming against Western Kentucky and FAMU. It hasn’t been close in games against high-major opponents, as the Cardinals have lost to Arkansas by 26 points, Texas Tech (32), Cincinnati (19), Maryland (25), Miami (27), Florida State (22), NC State (12) and Kentucky (23) by significant margins). Keep an eye on whether the Cardinals can make some adjustments in the new year to be more competitive.