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Syracuse lost as many as 20 points to Pittsburgh before bouncing back in the second half and losing to the Panthers by two points. After the loss, head coach Jim Boeheim admitted he’s tried everything he knows about coaching his forwards – Benny Williams and Chris Bell – to get them to play harder, particularly inside the colour. He’s also said that physical teams and those who shoot well against the top of the 2-3 zone do well against the Orange.
Now they face Boston College (7-6, 1-1 Atlantic Coast), one of the worst teams in the conference, who suffered puzzling losses to three Group of 5 schools during non-conference play. It enters the game as a 352. 3-point shooting team that can sometimes struggle through tight, low-scoring games.
Here’s what our beat writers think when Syracuse takes on Boston College.
Anish Vasudevan (10-3)
Syracuse 74, Boston College 65
Eventually, Syracuse meets a terrible team from below. The crux of the Syracuse defense that has allowed countless nonconference opponents to stay close to SU will not exist against Boston College. The Eagles 26.6% clip from across the arc is 351st nationally. They also fought from deep last year, resulting in two comfortable wins for Syracuse.
But Boston College is only averaging about five long-range tries per game, which should increase given the yet unplugged holes against SU’s zone. The orange just has to score early. They’ve only won games by leading at halftime or drawing against opponents, and never managed a comeback in the second half.
This should be an easy win for Syracuse if executed. Jim Boeheim has tipped off that options other than Joe Girard III, Jesse Edwards and Judah Mintz will have to come up at this point in the year and Boston College will be another test for those other guys on Syracuse’s team. This is an opportunity for them to show how this year’s team could have some depth and not just rely on their trio of stars.
Connor Smith (11-2)
Back to shape
Syracuse 71, Boston College 60
Syracuse has beaten the Eagles in eight straight matchups, and that streak should extend to nine as of Saturday afternoon. Both teams have had long breaks that lasted over a week. So it’ll be interesting to see who’s ready for that at the time of the final whistle. Boston College is a solid defensive team but has struggled at times to score this season and ranks 323rd nationally in effective field goal percentage, according to KenPom. The Eagles have not scored more than 67 points against a Power Conference opponent this season.
The Oranges have been playing well since December and have won five of their last six games. The defense has steadily improved – although it has taken a step back by allowing 84 points and a barrage of 3-pointers against Pitt – and Mintz, Girard and others have begun to solidify their roles. Those next two games against Boston College and Louisville will be crucial, almost competitive games for SU, who will face no lower-ranked opponents for the remainder of the season.
Anthony Alandt (9-4)
End the year right
Syracuse 68, Boston College 60
Up and down doesn’t even begin to describe the calendar year that Syracuse had. This year, a new breed of newcomers has dabbled in non-conference gaming, a midseason classic and the launch of ACC gaming. To close out the year, the Orange take on Boston College, a mediocre team that narrowly beat Virginia Tech and lost to Maine, New Hampshire and Tarleton State. SU needs a win in this one not only to earn a second conference win, but to show they can handle the teams below.
One of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the country, the Eagles are a low-ranking shooting team from the bow. That bodes well for an orange team who struggled hard against deep ball and let early runs by opponents late in the game hamper chances. Eventually, a team that doesn’t shoot well and defends only marginally better meets Syracuse, who are looking for a quick way to get the ship back on track before heading to Louisville and taking on one of the worst teams in the country.
Posted December 31, 2022 at 12:25 p.m