Following a 90-77 win over UNC Greensboro in the first round of the NIT Wednesday, top-seeded Syracuse hosts Ole Miss, a five-seed, on Saturday. This will be the first ever meeting between the two schools.
Below is a blueprint for how the Orange can advance to the quarterfinals.
Andrew White Staying Hot
In Syracuse’s last two Carrier Dome games, SU has won both by a combined 42 points. In those games, Andrew White has scored a combined 74 points and made 15 three-pointers.
Last time out against UNC Greensboro, White hit his 109th three of the season, which surpassed Gerry McNamara’s previous single-season record total of 107. White’s on a special run and if this can continue, Ole Miss will be in trouble.
Maintaining Dome-Field Advantage
Syracuse is 17-3 inside the Dome this season. In ACC play, the Orange lost just once at home and recorded wins over Duke, Florida State and Virginia.
Home court advantage helps any team, but this season it has been extra important for Syracuse.
Limiting Double-Double Machine Sebastian Saiz
Ole Miss comes into Saturday’s game with a 21-13 record. Mississippi beat Monmouth on the road 91-83 in the first round of the NIT to get to this point.
The key man for the Rebels is forward Sebastian Saiz. He averages a double-double, scoring 15 points per game to go along with eleven rebounds.
This season Sainz holds the Ole Miss record for most double-doubles ever with 21. Slowing down the big man will be key.
Preventing Free Throws
Ole Miss leads the country in free throws attempted and free throws made. This team lives at the line.
Mississippi shoots 75% as a team, which is good for 38th in the country. The Rebels will look to draw fouls against SU to get to line.
Getting on the Glass
Remember when Syracuse beat Duke, but had just four offensive rebounds compared to the Blue Devil’s 16? It seemed like Duke had second chances every other possession.
It’s no secret that SU has struggled on the boards this year. While the team was able to overcome that against Duke, that might not be possible against Ole Miss.
The Rebels grab nearly 13 offensive rebounds per game, which is good for 31st in the nation and is better than Duke.
Tyler Lydon can’t get SU out a rebounding hole by himself Saturday, but he’ll be an important factor down low along with Tyler Roberson.
Posted: Connor Morrissette