Syracuse Men’s Basketball Gears Up for ACC Opener
SU secured a 112-110 victory over Indiana on Tuesday in double overtime. But after blowing an 18-point lead in the second half, this win was more for redemption than anything. Syracuse needs to take this win’s momentum as it prepares for traveling to Tallahassee this weekend. WAER’s Annie Klaff gives a look into the Orange’s first conference matchup of the season.
This Saturday at 4 p.m., SU men’s basketball will journey down to Tallahassee to take on Florida State in its first conference match-up of the year. The two squads haven’t had a chance to compete since February of 2020, when the Seminoles came away with a 80-77 victory. Last year, SU was scheduled to host FSU, but it was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test on the Seminoles’ team. The teams never ended up rescheduling.
Syracuse is currently on a three game losing streak to Florida State in match-up history, but the one year gap might serve as a clean slate. Additionally, both teams are coming off of a busy Tuesday in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The main difference though is that the Orange walked away with a nail-biter win, while the Seminoles took a ghastly loss.
FSU fell with a whopping score of 93-65 against second-ranked Purdue. The Boilermakers are an undefeated team and hold their opponents to about 64 points per game. Syracuse’s opponent on Tuesday, Indiana, was also undefeated and has only allowed its opponents to score 65 points per game.
The Orange came out on top and sophomore Frank Anselem who tallied four good free throws in double overtime for SU, said he was confident in the team moving forward. “Today is a really really good step in the right position for us,” he said after the game.
Additionally, Anselem mentioned, “I feel like we’re battle tested. There’s nothing new we’re probably going to see.”
However, the Seminoles competed against Purdue without three of their key players. Usual starting point guard Rayquan Evans and center Naheem McLeod were out on Tuesday, forcing freshmen to sub in. Sports Illustrated said that it is likely that the two of them will play against Syracuse on Saturday.
Also, Head Coach Jim Boeheim doesn’t seem to agree with Anselem in terms of nothing new to see. After the Indiana game, Coach Boeheim said, “These guys can’t play 40 minutes against Florida State. They’re just too physical. They’re gonna press.” The Seminoles are in the top-25 in steal and turnover percentages, according to KenPom rankings. Boeheim said that freshman Benny Williams and junior Symir Torrence will need to step up with playing time and performance.
So, with all this taken into account, Florida State will hit the court with two more key players returning. And, there’s no doubt that FSU’s defense will not only test Syracuse’s strong offensive unit, but also test a weaker defensive unit. Lastly, Florida State looks to continue it’s home winning streak against a conference opponent of 25 straight games. If the ‘Noles succeed over Syracuse, they would tie Yale’s record of 26 straight conference wins at home from 1997-2000.
WAER’s coverage of SU’s season conference opener begins with GZA Countdown to Tipoff at 3:30 on Saturday.