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Fending Off the Feeding Frenzy: 3 Keys to Remaining #1 in the Country

Syracuse.media.com

Now that Syracuse has been ranked #1 in the nation, the pressure begins in holding onto the top spot. SU has the target on its back and NC State had the first shot at dethroning the Orange.

In the first true road game this season, SU handled being the enemy with flair, winning 88-72. The Wolfpack fed off its high energy crowd to push the Orange, but some red-hot SU shooting finished the job.

Kris Joseph liked what he saw Saturday night. “Not to say that we’re arrogant, but we’re No. 1 in the country for a reason. Going into someone else’s home, it’s always going to be tough. Like I said, we held our composure- that’s what I took out of this game.”

NC State couldn’t get the job done. But the challenge of rising to the occasion will now be there every night. Bucknell and Tulane are next, before the brutal Big East slate begins. The Fizz gives the top three keys for the Orange to remain #1 and avoid the upset.

  • Get out in transition

When SU runs it is one of the most dangerous teams in the nation. Against Virginia Tech, the whole momentum of the game changed when the Orange started to pick up the pace in the second half and then cruised to a comfortable victory. The fast break prevents teams for setting up the defense, pushes opponents to be on their heels and make quick decisions. The Orange has superior guard depth and can take advantage in the open floor. Off turnovers and rebounds SU needs to look for outlet guys breaking for quick lay ups and odd man advantages. Teams want to slow down the pace and make it into a half court game with SU.

  • Get the ball in the paint

Syracuse can score from a number of different ways but when it gets the ball inside is when its most affective. Shots in the paint are higher percentage, and as competition starts to stiffen, easier baskets can help SU ease into the game. Defenses are looking to make Syracuse a jump shooting team and limit dribble penetration.

  • Control the glass

The one weakness of SU’s zone is allowing offensive boards. Fab Melo tries to alter almost every shot, which can leads to opportunities for the offense to pick up the misses. Kris Joseph and C.J. Fair have done a great job of cleaning up on the defensive boards and that needs to continue. The Orange gets its far share of offensive rebounds, but limiting them for opponents can be a difference in the game.

The Orange passed its first test as the #1 team in the country. Who’s next?

Posted: Dave Van Moffaert

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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