After time to rest, Syracuse basketball looks to pounce on long-time rival

Syracuse basketball (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images) /

Syracuse basketball is in the final stretch of its 2021-22 regular campaign, with some tough encounters coming up as the Orange seeks to finish strong and keep its winning-seasons streak intact.

The ‘Cuse (13-12, 7-7) hasn’t played since last Saturday evening, when the Orange’s four-contest success streak got snapped in Blacksburg, Va., as a red-hot Virginia Tech group defeated Syracuse basketball, 71-59.

In that most recent affair for the ‘Cuse, the Syracuse basketball offense struggled, and the Orange will aim to get back on track, offensively speaking, as it welcomes long-time rival Boston College to the Hill this Saturday afternoon.

In a nationally televised broadcast slated for ESPNU, Syracuse basketball and the Eagles (9-15, 4-10) will do battle for the second time in 2021-22 beginning at 12:00 pm on February 19.

Syracuse basketball has a prime opportunity to notch a home victory.

As you can see from the statistics provided here by ESPN, Boston College often struggles to score, and the Eagles aren’t a great shooting team by any means, particularly from beyond the arc.

That, hopefully, bodes well for an Orange zone defense which has struggled on many occasions throughout 2021-22, although the ‘Cuse was pretty good on the defensive end of the floor in the loss to the Hokies about a week ago.

Boston College, which has lost four straight, is solid on the boards, averaging close to the same amount of rebounds per game as Syracuse basketball. Given that junior center Jesse Edwards is unfortunately out for the remainder of 2021-22 due to an injury, sophomore center Frank Anselem and the rest of the Orange big men will have to hit the glass hard.

Since the Eagles don’t shoot well from the field, Syracuse basketball doesn’t want to allow Boston College to have a lot of opportunities to notch second-chance points via the offensive boards.

When these two teams battled fewer than two weeks ago on the Eagles’ own turf, pesky Boston College hung around for the bulk of the game before the Orange prevailed on the road, 73-64.

Senior forward Cole Swider and junior point guard Joe Girard III proved huge in that affair. With Edwards no longer available, Anselem will have to step up, and the ‘Cuse will likely need strong outings from the Boeheim brothers as well to put away the Eagles.

Considering that Boston College’s metrics, including its KenPom ratings and its NET rankings, aren’t stellar at all, Syracuse basketball can ill-afford an ugly setback in Central New York.

I’m hopeful that some time to rest and practice over the past week will serve the Orange well, as the ‘Cuse attempts to push its all-time edge over the Eagles to 55-26.

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