The Orange Faces No. 18 Louisville, Looks to Bolster ACC Resume
With just six games remaining in regular season play, the Syracuse Orange (17-8, 8-4) will be in search of a resume-building win when they host the 18th ranked Louisville Cardinals (18-8, 9-4) on Wednesday night.
By the time tip off arrives, Syracuse will have been sitting idle for a full week since their last game, a 73-58 loss at NC State. Syracuse’s streaky offense was held to just 35% from the field in Raleigh and went a dismal 11 of 22 from the free throw line.
Syracuse’s three leading scorers, Tyus Battle, Elijah Hughes and Oshae Brissett, combined for just 15 points and shot just 21%. On the season the trio average 33 points per game.
If there is a positive to take from the loss at NC State it is that senior Frank Howard seemed to return to form. Howard, who had scored just three total points in his previous two outings, shot 8-16 from the field, good for 21 points.
With a vicious close to their ACC schedule, a well rested Syracuse team could desperately use a home win over a ranked opponent like Louisville in order to bolster their NCAA tournament resume.
First-year Louisville coach, Chris Mack, has his team exceeding expectations. Mack left his alma mater, Xavier, this past offseason after leading the Musketeers to the NCAA tournament in eight of his nine seasons at the helm.
Since arriving at Louisville, Mack has relied heavily on sophomore Jordan Nwora. The six foot eight inch forward leads the Cardinals in points, rebounds and steals. Nwora has scored in double figures in 11 straight contests.
The Cardinals have struggled in the last week. After blowing a 23-point lead in a lost upset attempt against Duke, Louisville warded off a Clemson buzzer beater attempt despite scoring just 19 points in the first half.
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After being held scoreless against the Blue Devils, senior guard and team assists leader Christen Cunningham bounced back, scoring 18 points in the win over the Tigers. The Cardinals will need junior Dwayne Sutton to return to form after posting just four points against Clemson, a personal season low in ACC play.
This matchup begins a three-game stretch in which Syracuse will face three ranked teams, with Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill to come. The Orange beat the Cardinals 78-73 in Louisville a year ago behind 20-point performances from Tyus Battle and Frank Howard. This year’s edition is scheduled to tip off in the Carrier Dome at 7 p.m.