After losing to a Pitt team that was previously 2-9 in ACC play, Orange fans may be back on the panic train. Maybe people are still in their football hangover where every loss is so critical to a team’s season, but this loss is an overreaction. But fear not. Although No. 4 Louisville is coming to the Dome, Lamar Jackson won’t be in town in hurdle over defenders.
Now, losses are losses and it impacts the Orange in the standings, but Syracuse has a prime opportunity to make up for its latest blunder. SU looks to pick up its third win against a top ten opponent in a critical game for the Orange’s tournament hopes.
This is no easy task for Syracuse. The Cardinals only losses in conference play have come against ranked teams on the road, and SU only falls under one of those criteria at the moment: being the home team.
However, that homecourt advantage is more important in this game than being ranked. This season, ACC teams have defended their home courts like no other, and Syracuse is no exception. The Orange is one of nine teams in the conference who has lost two or fewer games at home.
Homecourt in college basketball is an unparalleled intangible, which puts SU in the driver’s seat for Monday night. With an upper-echelon ACC team coming to Central New York and Syracuse having recent success, the Dome crowd will be in full force (although the expected snow could mean a full crowd won’t appear until midway through the first half).
Both of these teams are playing on just one full day of rest, so expect a sloppy game on both sides. However, a defensive lapse from the Louisville side is a real possibility. The Cardinals are a team that likes to push the envelope defensively, but with such little time to recuperate from its latest game (a 71-66 win over Miami), it will be tough for Louisville to play with the same intensity on the road.
In all but one of the Orange’s conference losses, opposing teams have shot at least 40 percent from behind the arc. However, Louisville as a team shoots 36 percent from deep, and has shot under the 40 percent mark in 15 of its 25 games.
A short turnaround and homecourt advantage clearly favors SU. If the Orange can contain the Cards from deep, the Carrier Dome floor is in store for its third court storming in as many weeks.