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How does the loss to Virginia impact Syracuse’s ACC outlook?

In a challenging battle to open up the conference slate, Syracuse was dealt a blowout loss against Virginia, 84-62, dropping the Orange to 5-3 on the season and 0-1 in ACC play. Let’s delve into an analysis of the game, breaking down key moments, strategies, and performances. Here is five crucial takeaways from this loss that could influence Syracuse’s approach in future games.

The Defense

Initially, Syracuse’s defense was solid. They effectively disrupted Virginia’s game plan early, forcing turnovers and pressuring the Cavaliers into taking contested shots. However, as the game unfolded, the Cavaliers gradually adapted to Syracuse’s defensive strategy and capitalized on their outside shots.

Such adjustments turned the tide in favor of Virginia and left Syracuse struggling to recover. It was disappointing to see the defensive performance waver for the final 25 minutes of the game, as Syracuse’s strong defense had to be their lifeline. Consistency, especially on the defensive end, is an aspect the Orange needs to work on.

JJ Starling

A beacon of hope amid the defeat was the performance of JJ Starling. He showcased his skills on both ends of the court, contributing 16 points and sinking two of three attempts from beyond the arc. Two assists and a steal further filled the stat sheet. Starling’s performance is huge considering the challenges of maintaining consistency in high-pressure situations.

Perhaps this game will serve as a springboard for Starling and his outside shot. The three point shot is now a mandatory part of the NBA game, and some have projected Starling as a sleeper at the end of the first round of the draft. It’s worth keeping an eye on FanDuel NBA finals odds in the future considering Starling’s draft stock and where he might land.

Judah Mintz

Mintz, who has been an integral part of Syracuse’s roster, failed to factor much in the game. Virginia’s robust defense effectively neutralized his play. Mintz struggled to find his rhythm despite numerous attempts, resulting in forced shots and missed opportunities.

The Cavaliers’ defense swarmed Mintz, limiting his effectiveness and diminishing Syracuse’s offense. This performance was one of the lowest pints in Mintz’s Syracuse career. 


Despite the loss, Syracuse was commendable in the rebounding department. Although Virginia outrebounded Syracuse 33-27, the Orange secured more offensive boards. SU only allowed four second-chance points.

Syracuse’s ability to rebound is huge. However, maintaining this performance will be crucial in upcoming high-stakes games, and they won the rebound battle in the win over Georgetown.

Looking Ahead

Syracuse’s loss to Virginia underscores the need for continued growth and adaptation. The Orange have bounced back and gotten wins over Cornell and Georgetown. Oregon is next. UVA is one of 5 ranked teams in the ACC and a top tier squad in the conference. The loss hurts, but it was a measuring stick for the Orange.

The Orange can use this opportunity to reassess their strategies, especially on the defensive end, and work towards more consistency.


Tthe game against Virginia was a stark reminder of the challenges Syracuse’s basketball team must overcome. It underlined the importance of consistency, adaptability, and the ability to perform under pressure. Plus SU needs some playmakers to step up in big spots against top tier foes.

There were elements of promise, such as Starling’s performance and the team’s effort in rebounding. These positive notes and lessons should serve as the foundation the Orange will build. The forthcoming games will test Syracuse’s character and resilience.

Syracuse’s journey is far from over, and this game, with its highs and lows, is another chapter in their ongoing narrative as the ACC slate eventually arrives.

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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