Syracuse Looks to Upset Virginia in the Dome
After a tough loss to Georgia Tech on the road Wednesday, Syracuse (15-7, 4-5) seeks to pull off their biggest win of the season against Virginia (21-1, 10-0) in the Carrier Dome on Saturday.
The glaring flaw with the Orange all season long has been its lack of offensive production. 'Cuse has shot only 42.3 percent from the field this year, including just 31.8 percent behind the three-point arc. Syracuse ranks tied for 285th in the country in points per game, scoring just 69.2 points a contest.
Not only have the Orange been thin in scoring, as of late Syracuse has been short on depth. Three of the team's starters- Tyus Battle, Frank Howard, and Oshae Brissett- all average over 37 minutes per game this season. Howard Washington and Matthew Moyer have both missed time recently due to injury, further depleting the length of the Syracuse bench.
Despite being asked to player large minutes every game, guard Tyus Battle has still been able to put up big numbers for the Orange this season. Battle ranks second in the ACC and 43rd in the country in points per game, averaging 19.7 for 'Cuse.
UVA @ SU gets underway at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Countdown to Tipoff begins at 3:30 only on 88.3 FM, WAER.
Virginia is actually tied with Syracuse in points per game, yet they are undefeated in conference play, are ranked second in the country, and have suffered just one loss on the season as a whole. What separates the Cavaliers from the Orange so far this season has been Virginia's stifling defense. The Cavaliers rank tops in scoring defense in the country, allowing just 52.7 points per game, which is almost four points per game lower than Cincinnati, who ranks second.
Although its not as highly ranked as the Cavaliers, the Orange is still a top 10 scoring defense, allowing just 62.8 points per game, and is 10th in blocks and 36th in steals in the national rankings.
One player who has turned up big for Virginia this season has been Devon Hall. The senior guard is second on the team in points, rebounds, assists, three point percentage, and free throw percentage. However, Hall struggled during the first meeting between Virginia and Syracuse, shooting just two for seven from the field and gave up four turnovers.
The Orange kept it close in its first meeting with the Cavaliers when they played in Charlottesville. Frank Howard was good for 18 points but got it on 20 shots and gave up seven turnovers. Sophomore guard for UVA Kyle Guy proved to be too much for SU, as he put up 22 points including five three-pointers to give the Cavaliers a 68-61 win over the Orange back on January 9th.
Syracuse will look to get back to .500 in conference play this Saturday against number two Virginia. After this one it will be a quick turnaround for the Orange, as it heads to the KFC Yum! Center on Monday to take on Louisville.