Syracuse basketball opened its regular season with a dominant 83-55 win over upstate rival Colgate. Now, the Orange are set to face the Holy Cross Crusaders on Tuesday night. On paper, the result of this game should not be in doubt, but there is still plenty to watch for from a Syracuse perspective.
It is hard to complain about Syracuse’s defense in the win over Colgate. The Orange held the Raiders to 55 points but, some may argue, that if the Orange played a stronger opponent, they might have been in trouble. Colgate launched 37 three point attempts. And only hit six. Is it possible that the Orange allowed Colgate to hoist from range because they knew they wouldn’t hit? Possibly, but it is important for the Orange to get into the habit of guarding the perieter as well as the paint if they hope to beat better shooting teams. The Crusaders struggled from beyond the arc in their blowout loss to South Carolina last week, going 5-20. However, they very well may fire shots from beyond the arc. Three point defense has often been one of the Orange’s weakest characteristic. Look to see if the Orange can get more hands in faces from three against Holy Cross.
Syracuse has put up points on points in the their first three games this season (including the two exhibtion games). They are averaging almost 88 points per game over those games, and they are doing it without much help from Tyler Lydon. Lydon hit a whopping one field goal on six attempts in Syracuse’s first game of the season. He finished the game with two points in 26 minutes. It is hardly time to panic on the Sophomore. Likely, he will just need one good shooting day to get himself going again. Tuesday could be that day. On the other hand, Tyler Roberson put up 18 points, two points shy of his career high. One game is hardly a sample size at all, but if Roberson can be more of an offesnsive force this season, that would, obviously, be a major plus for the Orange. The forward will continue to grab rebounds and if he can become a more consistent scorer, he will be an incredibly important player in his senior season.
Syracuse went 8-19 from the line on Friday. Paschal Chukwu went 0-6, while actually missing seven free throws (after a lane violation). Do we really need to say anymore here?
Syracuse should not have a problem with Holy Cross on Tuesday, but until the game goes final, you never know. Even if the Orange cruise against the Crusaders, there is plenty that these games can tell us going forward.