The Syracuse Orange look to get back on track with a big home win over the Louisville Cardinals. Tip off is set for 12:00 from the Carrier Dome, and the game is being televised on CBS.
This is a game that would be absolutely huge for the Orange to win this afternoon.
Louisville comes in to the game white hot, winning seven out of their previous eight games. Their one loss? A five overtime classic to Notre Dame on the road. The Cardinals have a blowout win over Marquette during that win streak, and are more than confident heading in to this match up on Jim Boeheim Court.
The Cardinals are led by junior Russ Smith. Smith scored 25 against the Orange the first time around in the KFC Yum! Center, but had a poor shooting day with a field goal percentage under 50%. Smith is a guard that can absolutely kill a 2-3 zone if it isn’t active and can make his threes all afternoon long.
Smith was the lone bright spot offensively the first time around for the Cardinals, but the team as a whole defensively are what really shine on this team. Louisville runs one of the best full court presses in the country, and will give the Orange fits if they can get Syracuse playing too fast for themselves. I believe the number one concern in this game will be the Syracuse offense, which will run a half court offense if they are lucky. The turnovers forced by this Louisville defense is something that should be feared by any fan wearing orange.
Syracuse enters this game knowing that they desperately need a win. A loss today means the Orange has to win over both DePaul and Georgetown to even be able to make a case for a three seed. A win over the Cards will take a big step in making their case for a high seed in the NCAA, and they could control their own destiny with the remainder of the regular season and the Big East Tournament. Here are the probable starting lineups today:
#2 Russ Smith, G, Junior
#1 Michael Carter-Williams, G, Sophomore
#20 Wayne Blackshear, F, Sophomore
#25 Rakeem Christmas, F, Sophomore
#21 Chane Behanan, F, Sophomore
#5 CJ Fair, F, Junior
#10 Gorgui Deng, C, Junior
#3 Jerami Grant, F, Freshman
#3 Peyton Siva, G, Senior
#25 Brandon Triche, G, Senior
This game is an absolutely critical game for the Orange to win. Syracuse enters the game on a two game losing streak that put them in the afterthought for the regular season Big East Championship, but the Orange can still put themselves in a good position for the postseason, and it starts today in the Carrier Dome. The Cardinals are extremely talented and well coached, but Syracuse can match that very talent and have more experience in the head coaching position.
All in all I believe this will be a game that many people look back on and point to as a key in the season regardless of it’s outcome. Louisville is extremely talented and hungry after losing at home to the Orange as the nation’s number one team, but overall I think this game means much more to Syracuse to win than it does for Louisville. I think the the fact that Syracuse needs a win mixed with the home crowd enable the Orange to find a way to get it done in the Dome today.