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Last Two: A Strong Non-Conference Finish Could Mean a Bright Beginning in Conference Play for Syracuse

The SU hoops team is just days away from beginning its ACC slate.

When Jim Boeheim and company travel to Virginia Tech on January 3rd, everything has to click. That means consistency and execution are pivotal. Everyone, from Rakeem Christmas down the bench to Chinonso Obokoh, has to be ready to go for Syracuse to prove it has grit and toughnes for a tournament push.

Why? Well The Per’Fesser already let us know how he measures his team’s margin of error once his squad hits conference play:

“This team isn’t going to beat anybody who’s any good if they don’t play better. That goes for every single ACC game.”

 

Syracuse hosts Long Beach State and Cornell to close the non-conference schedule. LB State is in the midst of a six-game road trip desperately searching for a win. The 49ers have lost their last four contest, two recently to ranked opponents Texas and St. John’s. As for Cornell, the Big Red usually never matches SU’s dominance but has enough familiarity to give Boeheim’s boys a test.

These match-ups will give us a sense of where the Orange is at heading into conference action. If Syracuse can blow these opponents out of the water and put them away early, there’s some encouraging light. It’s not preferred for the team to struggle to easily beat these teams.

The ACC slate starts at VT, followed by a trip further south to Georgia Tech. VT is 7-4 while GT sits at 8-3 coming off a loss to Dayton, the program that knocked SU out of the NCAA tournament last year.

Just think:  Syracuse has the two-game trip, followed by home affairs with Florida State and Wake Forest, a trip down to Clemson then back to the Dome for Boston College. Looking at it from the grand scheme of things, a 6-0 start in the ACC is actually realistic. But again, consistency and execution are key.

A hot start relies heavily on a solid close to 2014. Hopefully it’s the 9-4 Orange storming down to Blacksburg to battle the Hokies in 2015.

Posted:  Brendan Glasheen

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