Last Saturday’s loss to No. 2 Kansas was everything everyone expected. Sure, the Orange was looking like it was going to exceed expectations this season, but it was unreasonable to demand that it to pull off a neutral site victory over arguably the best team in the country. Now, SU gets a more reasonable challenge tonight against UConn at Madison Square Garden to relive the glory of the six overtime game in the Big East Tournament.
This season, the Huskies haven’t looked great. Both of their losses have been by at least 20 points (including a 35 point loss to Arkansas) and have had close calls against Monmouth, who is not the Cinderella-type team it used to be, and Columbia, who is currently 1-5. Like last year, falling to the Huskies would be marked as a bad loss on the Orange’s resume. That being said, there are a couple ways to exploit UConn in order for Syracuse to avoid that fate.
Get To The Boards
This is an area where Syracuse can’t afford to let up. SU is sixth in the country in rebounding, which is a product of its much bigger lineup this season. UConn does not have height. Its tallest player that plays considerable minutes is 6-foot-8, and the tallest person on its roster is 6-foot-9. That won’t bode well for the Huskies against the Orange’s three leading rebounders who are all 6-foot-8 or taller (and in Paschal Chukwu’s case, half a foot taller) and all play much bigger than their size indicates.
Guards Stay Out Of Foul Trouble
Against Kansas, Frank Howard was forced to sit out for a bit because of two early fouls, which forced Jim Boeheim to give early minutes to Howard Washington, who is now the next guard in line because of Geno Thorpe’s unexpected departure. While the Orange can probably get away with a small lineup tonight because of the Huskies lack of height, SU’s guards can’t afford the same luxury because of its lack of depth.
Contain Jalen Adams
Last year, Adams scored 16 points against the Orange, which may not seem like a lot as the guy you MUST contain. However, that game only featured 102 total points. Adams is to UConn as Tyus Battle is to Syracuse. The junior guard is averaging 19.4 points while shooting almost 35 percent from three. If Adams runs rampant and UConn turns this into a defensive affair like last season, that gives a slight advantage to the Huskies.