If the Orange’s 78-75 win over No. 10 Duke didn’t solidify its tournament hopes, SU has a chance to put the stamp on its resume tomorrow against No. 7 Louisville down south. The Orange and Cardinals have already squared off once this season, ending in a heartbreaking 76-72 overtime loss inside the Dome. That game was just another edition of the Cardiac Cuse, and now the Orange seeks revenge at the KFC Yum! Center (yes, that’s a real place and properly punctuated).
In the first meeting between these two teams, offense was at a premium. Both teams shot below 32 percent from deep, but the reason Syracuse hung around towards the end thanks to horrid free throw shooting from Louisville down the stretch. The Cardinals were 2-of-6 from the charity stripe in the final 5:10 of regulation and the Orange made them pay for poor fundamentals. On the SU side, Andrew White III exploded in overtime, but the senior could have helped Syracuse close out the game in regulation with a better performance. White scored 11 points in overtime, but had just as many in the first 40 minutes on 5-of-18 shooting. It was clearly not the Nebraska transfer’s night from the field, but when he found his groove in the extra frame, it came from him attacking the lane. White did not attempt a free throw in regulation, but went 6-of-6 in overtime. Sometimes, shooters just need to see the ball go through the hoop in order to regain their rhythm.
This time around, the Orange needs a faster start. It’s so tough to come back as Jim Boeheim has alluded to, and come tournament time, should SU get there, chipping away at the end becomes even more difficult. Shooting 23 percent from three is not going to get the job done for the Orange. Its record when shooting under 32 percent is 1-9 this season.
Without a doubt this would be a nice win for the Orange, but the way ACC teams travel, a victory seems unlikely, especially at Louisville. The Cardinals are 14-1 at home this year. A loss certainly is not the end for Syracuse, however, it would make a win against Georgia Tech that much more important.