After a week off, the Syracuse Orange are taking their perfect record on the road to Miami to face the Hurricanes on Saturday.
The Orange, 18-0 (5-0), were tested by the Hurricanes, 10-8 (2-4), the first time the two teams met at the Carrier Dome three weeks ago. The Hurricanes controlled the tempo of the game and had a late lead against the Orange, who went on a 14-4 run in the last six minutes to squeak out the win. The Orange will be looking to create a little distance between themselves and their opponent this time.
The Orange struggled against Miami’s 1-2-2 zone, shooting just 36.2 percent from the field, including an off day from Trevor Cooney, who shot 2-12 from three-point range. This was one of their worst games shooting on the season, so expect the field-goal percentage to be a little bit higher this time. A week off can only benefit Cooney, who has shot 12-47 from beyond the arc in the Orange’s five ACC games (26.7 percent).
The Orange were able to force 15 turnovers in the first game, but they only stole the ball five times from the Hurricanes. The Orange average 9.5 steals per game, so they will look to force more live-ball turnovers this time. If they get more steals, this will give them a chance to speed up the pace of the game because last time, the Hurricanes lulled them to sleep with the slow pace they played at. The Hurricanes also got off to a good start from the field, going 5-11 from three in the first half at the Carrier Dome. The Orange need to establish themselves early in the game, because they know if they let the Hurricanes hang around it won’t be an easy win.
The Pick: The Orange didn’t show up until their were six minutes to go in the first matchup to grab a slim victory. In those final minutes, they went on a 14-4 run, shooting 5-7 from the field down the stretch. The Orange are the better team, they just need to play like it for the majority of the game. Trevor Cooney is the key. If he hits shots, especially against a zone, the Orange offense will show its true identity. If he continues to struggle, the Orange could put up 49 points again. They will also have to keep the Hurricanes’ leading scorer Rion Brown in check again. Brown scored just 7 points on 3-9 shooting in the first game. I think the week off will prove to be a good thing for Cooney and the Orange. They win 70-52.
Where: BankUnited Center, Coral Gables, Florida
When: Saturday, January 25th, 1:00 p.m. ET