After squeaking past Wake Forest on Saturday night, Syracuse looks towards it’s next opponent, NC State. The Orange will host the Wolfpack in Carrier Dome on Tuesday night, at 7:00 pm. With similar records in the middle of the ACC, this matchup looms large for NCAA tournament implications. Here are a few things to know about NC State.
Not a Great Rebounding Team
One category soars above the rest in the discussion of the biggest problems that currently hinder Syracuse basketball, rebounding. The battle for boards is one that the Orange often lose. With guys like Bourama Sidibe under the basket, there’s no wonder why. This year against major conference teams that have bigs averaging 7 rebounds or more, the Orange are 4-7. It’s no secret that lackluster board play is the root of this team’s problems. However an upside for the Orange, this Wolfpack squad isn’t much better crashing the glass. SU ranks 220th in the country in total rebounding, while NC State is just ten spots ahead sitting at 210. The Wolfpack’s best rebounder is their guard, C.J. Bryce, at just 6.3 boards a night. Playing a team that’s just about as bad as them on the boards could prove very beneficial for Jim Boeheim’s squad.
Not a Good Three-Point Shooting Team
The biggest criticism the famous Syracuse 2-3 has received over the years is its inability to prevent teams from knocking down three-point shots. This year, however, the Orange have been pretty solid at defending shots launched from distance, this year allowing only 30% into the hoop. Although it might not even be something Syracuse needs to worry about because NC state is pretty bad from behind the line. The Wolfpack shoots just 32% from behind the arc, which puts them way down at 259th in the country. Not having to have as much emphasis on defending the outside shot can really help Syracuse to a much-needed victory Tuesday night.
This is an Incredibly Important Game
Right now, Syracuse is 14-9 with a conference record of 7-5 and NC State is 15-8 with a conference record of 6-6. With only limited teams making the NCAA tournament from the ACC, there’s a good chance the last spot is between the Orange and the Wolfpack. A loss for Syracuse tomorrow night could very well mean March Madness hopes die. With top teams in the country like FSU and Louisville still left on the schedule for SU fans have to imagine there’s at least a few more losses to come. So this game becomes huge, just like the last one was against Wake Forest. Besides, the Orange are still without a really good win on their resumé, last year their defeat of Duke at Cameron Indoor, really helped their chances, this year as of right now it looks like their win over Virginia is the best win Syracuse can flaunt.
It looks like the Orange will have a pretty good shot at beating their opponents Tuesday night if they can capitalize on the Wolfpack’s inability to rebound or shoot the three. Syracuse still has a shot at the tournament but a loss against NC state would make it difficult to keep Syracuse in the conversation.