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 signature win?
While Tuesday’s matchup against UNC is not a Quadrant 1 game, it certainly has the opportunity to be later down the road. North Carolina was ranked preseason No. 1, but lost four straight games in non-conference play and has since fallen out of the top 25. That said, the Tar Heels are currently 32nd in NET, which means that with a few more wins, they could sneak back in the top 30. A Quadrant 1 win is awarded for home wins against a top 30 BPI team, so while the game is currently a Quadrant 2 game, Syracuse could call this a signature win at the end of the year, provided, of course, that they actually win.
Can Syracuse contain UNC’s Big 3?
Armando Bacot has done it all for the Tar Heels this season, leading the team with 17.8 ppg, 11.6 rpg and 1.1 bpg. At 6’11”, 235 pounds, he’s always presented a matchup issue for Orange center Jesse Edwards. Guards RJ Davis (16.8 ppg) and Caleb Love (16.3 ppg), have provided UNC with a “Big 3” that has led them to five wins in their last six games. While the Tar Heels don’t shoot well from 3-point land (31.6 percent), Davis shoots 38.8 percent from downtown, and UNC as a team shoots 45.4 percent overall.
Can Syracuse get more production from its starting wings?
Syracuse’s starting front court of Chris Bell (2 points) and Benny Williams (1 point), struggled in Syracuse’s 80-63 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday. The Orange cannot afford for Bell and Williams to struggle on Tuesday, which would allow UNC to swing momentum its way early. If either struggles, expect to see Jim Boeheim give a quick hook and go to reserve forward Maliq Brown early. That’s exactly what happened on Saturday, when Brown scored a season-high 18 points while adding four rebounds and four steals.