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Syracuse Looks for Consistence Against Oakland

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After the ten-point loss to Georgetown, the Syracuse Basketball team looks to rebound against Oakland University. The Golden Grizzlies are the sixth team the Orange has played that is not a power five team.  Four of the five of those teams have resulted in victories, and SU hopes for more of the same against Oakland. The last time these two teams played, Syracuse won by over 20 points. 

The Golden Grizzlies are currently 5-6. Most of those wins come from when they play in the Athletics Center O’Reno in Auburn Mills, Michigan. Now, Oakland comes to Syracuse to play a struggling Orange team, but have not found much success on the road, with a record of 1-4. In comparison to Syracuse, the Golden Grizzlies have had a fairly easy schedule. SU will be only the third power five team Oakland has faced all season. The two they have already faced have been ranked Maryland and Michigan State. To both those teams, they suffered losses of over 20 points. 

  Coming into this matchup, the Orange are fighting, from game to game, to stay above .500. Their most recent loss comes from old Big East rival Georgetown. Buddy Boeheim had the hot hand in the second half of the loss and lead the team with 25 points. Something the Orange has struggled with all season has been consistent scoring from someone other than Elijah Hughes. In the two most recent games, Boeheim has proven he can be a viable solution. Look for Boeheim to continue the hot streak in the game against Oakland. 

On the defensive side of the ball for Syracuse, the Orange should have a strong performance. The Golden Grizzlies have struggled the last two games. They have not been able to score over 70 points. Against the MSU Spartans, they finished with a meager 49 points. Oakland is a team that has only faced Syracuse three times in the last 10 years, which means they are not overly familiar with the infamous 2-3 zone of the Orange. This means, defensively, SU will most likely have the upperhand. 

Even though this may seem like a matchup that will heavily favor Syracuse on both sides of the ball, the Orange will have to keep their eye out for Xavier Hill-Mais. Hill-Mais is a redshirt senior who puts up big points against notable opponents. Against Maryland, who was ranked No. 7 at the time, he put up almost

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   40 percent of all of Oakland’s total points with 18. To defend him, Bourama Sidibe or Quincy Guerrier will need to step up inside. 

These are the types of games Syracuse needs to make sure they win if they want to think about playing in March. There are must-wins and should wins. SU is reaching the point in their season when games like these start to look like both. After this game, the Orange face North Florida and Niagara, two games that should lead to convincing victories. Wednesday will set the tone for this next stretch.