After an 11 point victory on opening night for SU in a game that was closer than it should have been, the Orange are back in action after just one day off. Tonight’s contest against Canisius will be a much tougher matchup for Syracuse. The Golden Griffins were picked to finish third in the MAAC and have one of the more experienced rosters in the country. While the Golden Griffins went just 10-20 last season, they won five of their last six games and have a lot of momentum going into the season.
Notably, it was reported that a few weeks ago, Canisius easily beat Colgate in a secret scrimmage. So, while the Golden Griffins may not be a total pushover, it still is a game the Orange should win relatively easily and a chance to continue to work on things. But, what does SU need to focus on in the matchup?
Shoot The Ball Well
The offense and perimeter shooting was one of the things that haunted SU at times last year and it was a big issue in the opener against New Hampshire. With the departure of Joe Girard, Chris Bell, Justin Taylor and JJ Starling needed to step up and be more consistent from deep. But in the opener, none could consistently knock down shots. Bell went 1-5, Starling went 0-4 and while Taylor did go 2-3, both of his makes were within a few minutes of each other.
Push The Pace The Whole Game
In the first 10 minutes against New Hampshire, Syracuse played with energy and excitement. But as time wore on, the ‘Cuse started to wear off and fade away. In the first half, SU had 16 fast break points compared to just 6 in the second half. The Orange were most dominant when they pushed the pace. If they can play fast and with purpose for the whole 40 minutes against Canisius, or at least for more than the first 10, then it should be an easy win.
Be Better In The Paint
There were times against New Hampshire when Syracuse really struggled in the paint. The Wildcats had 14 offensive rebounds and with Naheem McCloud struggling and Benny Williams out, that might be the biggest concern along with the shooting. Syracuse has to be able to limit second chance points and crash the class to be successful, especially against the low major teams that are at the beginning of the schedule.