A Court of Orange: The Key to Taming the Tigers

Following a week that included the first road win on the season, two upset victories against ranked opponents, two court storms and Jim Boeheim’s unofficial 1000th win for Syracuse, the Orange resumes play on the hardwood tonight against Clemson.

The Tigers are coming off a blowout 109-61 loss to Florida State, leaving Clemson scrambling to pick up its pieces.

Meanwhile, SU has as much momentum behind its current four-game win streak as a team can possibly have.

And just that factor — momentum — above any statistics might make Syracuse the perfect Ringmaster to tame the Tigers:

Clemson Is Struggling in the ACC

Clemson is 3-7 in ACC play so far this season—the opposite of SU’s current ACC record.

The Tiger’s season took a turn for the worse once ACC play began. They beat Wake Forest in their first ACC game of the season, putting them on a nine-game win streak. But then they lost their nest six straight against North Carolina, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Louisville and Virginia Tech. Then they beat Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech, but any momentum from those games has been (claw-)shredded.

Syracuse, on the other hand, seems to just be heating up. A few weeks ago we were talking about the Orange not having a season to look forward to after a start of struggles. Now, the Orange has become a comeback and upset machine.

Syracuse is Better in the Stats

Yes, statistics are just numbers on paper and are fun to talk about. Even though I do think Syracuse can win tonight just by riding momentum into another team that has lost it’s own, it is good to point out that Syracuse leads in almost every category:

                     Syracuse     Clemson

PPG                  76.5             74.8

OPP PPG          69.2             70.8

FG%                 .462             .449

FG% DEF        .416              .445

3PT%               .395              .355

3PT% DEF      .337              .353

FT%                .707               .704

RPG                35.8                34.1

OPP RPG        36.1               35.9

Assists PG       16.5               13.3

Turnovers PG  12.1               11.3

Blocks PG        5.4                 4.6

Steals PG          8.5                 7.9

 

So it’s just numbers. What does it mean?

It means that, on paper, Syracuse is the better team going into tonight’s game. But, the Orange is the perfect squad right now to know that it’s not necessarily what’s on paper that matters.

There isn’t really one stat or factor that Syracuse has to watch out for to win the game as might often be suggested.
Tonight, it comes down to momentum, and Syracuse is a hot-fire Orange while the Tigers have themselves caged.

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