Syracuse travels to Florida to play No. 16 Miami on Monday evening at 7 p.m. (TV: ACCN). Here’s what to watch for in the game.
Can Syracuse pick up a Quadrant 1 win?
Syracuse is desperate for a signature win on its NCAA resume. Currently ranked No. 117 in the NET, the Orange is 0-2 in Q1 games, 1-2 in Q2, 3-2 in Q3 and 8-0 in Q4. Monday evening’s game against Miami, ranked No. 39 in NET, represents an opportunity for a Q1 win (a Q1 win is awarded for a road win against a team ranked 1-75). Syracuse will need at least a few of these wins to counteract its Q3 losses against Colgate and Bryant in its non-conference schedule. The Orange avoided a Q3 loss with a come-from-behind win over Notre Dame, but SU is going to need more than that if it wants to be dancing in March.
Can Syracuse contain Miami’s backcourt?
Isaiah Wong has had a do-it-all season for the Hurricanes. Wong leads Miami in scoring at 17.2 ppg on 46.8 shooting from the field (35.0 3p%), and is also chipping in 4.6 rpg, 4.0 apg. His backcourt mate, Jordan Miller, has also been solid, and is second on the team in scoring (14.9 ppg) and is shooting 52.8 percent from the field and 34.0 percent from downtown. The Orange struggled defending the 3-point line against Notre Dame in the first half of Saturday’s game, with the Irish shooting 9 of 18 in the first half. Syracuse will need to pay careful attention to Wong and Miller if it wants to upset the Hurricanes.
Will Chris Bell do it again?
Syracuse had one of its best shooting performances in conference play against Notre Dame, as the Orange shot 51.9 percent from the field and 8-19 from downtown. In particular, Chris Bell shot well, hitting 5-8 from downtown, leading the Orange with 17 points. The question is whether Bell can keep it up. The last time Bell was in double figures was on Dec. 17 against Cornell when he scored 13 points. He then went five games between the Big Red and the Fighting Irish before he was in double digits again. Syracuse will need the same kind of performance from Bell against Miami.