Syracuse might be the six seed and have the better record than 14 seed North Carolina. But, they are three point underdogs today according to Vegas. Given that UNC has won 9 straight against SU, has the Greensboro crowd on its side, more talent and looked great in a convincing win over Virginia Tech Tuesday night, a lot needs to go SU’s way to win tonight.
Here are the three most important things.
1 Make Threes
Three point shooting has gone from a strength of the team to a weakness.
UNC has traditionally struggled to defend the three point line and this year is no different. Opponents average 34% shooting from downtown against them, which checks in at the 216th best mark in the nation.
Virginia Tech got plenty of open looks Tuesday night and missed. Syracuse needs to make them.
2. Avoid Foul Trouble
Garrison Brooks is maybe the hottest front-court player in the nation right now. The Tar Heels forward has scored 20 points or more in 7 straight games, including 26 points and 14 rebounds at Syracuse. Brooks, an All-ACC second teamer, combined with Armando Bacot, a five star freshman, form one of the most active front-courts anywhere.
They live on the free throw line. Bourama Sidibe, who played the best game of his career against UNC last time, and Marek Dolezaj have to stay down on pump fakes, crash the glass and stay out of foul trouble.
3. Start Hot
This place is going to be filled with Carolina blue Wednesday night. The positive spin is Syracuse has actually been uncharacteristically strong on the road this year.
Remember when Elijah Hughes came out on a mission at Georgia Tech, took over the game and silenced the crowd? The Orange needs something like that again. This team has fought all year. They have battled tough. The whole world thinks UNC is winning tonight. Syracuse needs to come out with the “nobody but us” attitude early and get the confident Tar Heels back on their heels.