Things didn’t start off as well as planned in ACC play for the Syracuse Orange. Despite this, they snuck away with a victory against Miami and are now looking to pick up another conference win Tuesday in Blacksburg against Virginia Tech.
The Orange, 14-0 (1-0), didn’t expect to struggle on offense against Miami, but a slow paced game caused some problems. Virginia Tech should look to do the same thing against the 2-3 zone after seeing this, and they are a team that could be pretty good zone-busters.
The Hokies shoot 42.5 percent from three-point range, sixth best in the NCAA. The Hokies should look to slow it down and create good ball movement in order to keep the zone moving, which will help them get some good looks from beyond the arc. The Hokies will have to do a good job protecting the rock, though. The Orange defense forces 16.5 turnovers per game and the Hokies rank 287th in the NCAA in turnovers per game, committing 14.3 when they take the court. Look for the Orange to take advantage of this and try to speed up the game, something they failed to do against Miami.
The Orange were only able to score three fast break points in their last game. They also didn’t shoot well from the field, going 36 percent for the game. That was the first time they shot under 40 percent since the fourth game of the season against St. Francis of Brooklyn. In order for the Orange to pick things up, they need to try and speed up the game which could force some Virginia Tech mistakes, which will result in better scoring opportunities for the Orange. Expect to see some full-court pressure from the Orange. Guard Trevor Cooney also struggled against Miami, going 2-12 from three. Opponents of the Hokies only shoot 30.8 percent from beyond the arc and 38.2 percent from the field. The Orange will have to get some good looks early to be affective for the whole game.
The Pick: The Orange will have to keep Virginia Tech forward Jarell Eddie in check. Eddie averages 17.4 points per game to lead the team, and also shoots 47 percent from three. If they can keep their leading scorer in check, that will be a big advantage for the Orange since he is the focal point of a good three-point shooting team. The Orange may be without Dajuan Coleman again, so players like C.J. Fair, Jerami Grant and Rakeem Christmas need to get rebounds against a team that grabs 41 boards per game. Look for the Orange to control the pace this game because they most likely noticed that a slow game doesn’t benefit them. I don’t see the offense struggling against Virginia Tech, but this team could do some damage to the Orange’s 2-3 zone. It won’t be as easy of a game as many think it will be, but the Orange will come out with a win, 75-65.
When: 9 p.m.
Where: Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, VA
Television: ACC Network/ESPN 3