Syracuse basketball struggling, while ACC tourney foe Florida St. on a roll

As Syracuse basketball arrives in Brooklyn, N.Y., for the 2022 ACC Tournament, the Orange is limping – literally and figuratively.

The ‘Cuse (15-16, 9-11) has lost four games in a row, the most recent of which was an embarrassing choke job this past Saturday on the Hill. For the second time in the 2021-22 campaign, Syracuse basketball built up an 18-point lead versus Miami, only to lose.

To make matters worse, junior center Jesse Edwards and freshman forward Benny Williams are both injured and not available for the ACC Tournament, while it remains to be seen whether junior guard Symir Torrence will receive any run when the No. 9 seed Orange squares off with the No. 8 seed Florida State this Wednesday afternoon from the Barclays Center.

A ‘Cuse line-up that has lacked depth throughout the 2021-22 term is now even thinner, and the team’s next opponent, the Seminoles, boasts tremendous depth. We’ll have to monitor whether fatigue presents any issues for the Orange in this ACC Tournament encounter.

Syracuse basketball is suiting up against Florida State, which is red-hot.

While the ‘Cuse was pretty bad down the stretch in the 2021-22 regular season, FSU (17-13, 10-10) is playing well. The Seminoles have triumphed three times in a row, versus N.C. State and Notre Dame at home, and against Virginia on the road.

A dozen players within the Florida State line-up average at least 11 minutes of action per affair, and that kind of depth absolutely could prove a factor when the Seminoles go toe to toe with Syracuse basketball.

The Orange, all-time, is 8-6 versus Florida State, and the teams each won on the other group’s home turf during the 2021-22 regular stanza. In the present campaign, the ‘Cuse is 1-3 at neutral sites, and the Seminoles are 2-1 in such contests.

When I penned this column, Syracuse basketball was No. 94 in the NET rankings and No. 88, according to KenPom. FSU, meanwhile, was No. 98 in the NET ratings and No. 101 via KenPom.

Neither squad is particularly good on defense, although the Orange is currently in the top-25 nationally as it pertains to adjusted offensive efficiency, according to KenPom.

The Seminoles aren’t a great shooting outfit, connecting on 43.8 percent from the field, 34.2 percent from beyond the arc, and 70.8 percent from the charity stripe.

What concerns me the most is that FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton has a long bench, which means he can insert guys into the line-up who have fresh legs. A Syracuse basketball roster that is mightily suffering from a lack of depth, I fear, could get crushed on the glass by the Seminoles, particularly in the second half as players start to get tired.

As the ACC Tournament commences for the ‘Cuse and FSU, the Orange has to win this event to go dancing in the near future, while I imagine that Florida State has to journey on a deep run in Brooklyn to be considered for the 2022 March Madness.

Earlier in 2021-22, these squads beat one another by three points and five points, respectively, so I’d expect another hard-fought, tight contest on Wednesday afternoon in the ACC Tournament’s second round.