Syracuse basketball returns to the Hill on Tuesday night when the Orange will host LSU in the inaugural ACC/SEC Challenge.
Right before the Thanksgiving holiday, the ‘Cuse went 1-2 overall at the 2023 Allstate Maui Invitational in Honolulu. The Orange (4-2) crushed Division II Chaminade, 105-56, while Syracuse basketball fell to top-15 squads Tennessee and Gonzaga by double-digits in each of those tough contests.
LSU (4-2), meanwhile, has won three straight games, over North Florida, Wake Forest in overtime and North Texas. Earlier in the 2023-24 campaign, the Tigers defeated Mississippi Valley State but fell to Dayton by three points and to Nicholls by two points.
LSU vs. Syracuse basketball odds, spread and total
When I wrote this article, FanDuel had the Orange as a 1.5-point betting favorite at home against the Tigers, with the over/under set at 150.5 points.
LSU vs. Syracuse basketball how to watch
LSU vs. Syracuse basketball key players to watch
Graduate student forward Will Baker
Baker is off to a strong start in 2023-24. He leads the Tigers in scoring, at 16.3 points per game, and rebounding, at 6.5 boards per affair, while connecting on 57.1 percent from the field, 87.5 percent from the free-throw line and 50.0 percent from beyond the arc.
Sophomore point guard Judah Mintz
Mintz leads the Orange in scoring, at 18.3 points per meeting. He’s also averaging 4.2 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game, while hitting on 43.4 percent from the field, 77.1 percent from the charity stripe and 36.8 percent from downtown.
LSU vs. Syracuse basketball prediction and pick
The Tigers and the ‘Cuse have only met once before. In February of 1985, the top-10 Orange beat LSU by a final count of 76-64 at home.
When I wrote this article, KenPom had the Tigers with an overall efficiency of No. 72 nationally, an adjusted offensive efficiency of No. 87 and an adjusted defensive efficiency of No. 58. The ‘Cuse, on the other hand, was No. 129 overall via KenPom, along with No. 139 in adjusted offensive efficiency and No. 119 in adjusted defensive efficiency.
LSU is a good shooting team, at least so far in the young 2023-24 stanza. The Tigers connect on 47.4 percent from the field, 72.5 percent from the free-throw line and 36.8 percent from 3-point land. LSU is averaging 77.7 points per contest and allowing 67.2 points.
Conversely, Syracuse basketball is scoring 78.2 points per encounter while giving up 71.5 points. The Orange is making 44.4 percent from the field, 71.0 percent from the charity stripe and just 28.8 percent from long range.
A couple of other statistics to monitor. The Tigers generate 10.3 steals per game but also commit 13.2 turnovers per affair. Syracuse basketball produces 9.2 steals per contest while committing 11.0 miscues per game.
Although the ‘Cuse has struggled in numerous games so far in 2023-24 on the glass, the Orange does have a rebounding edge over LSU of about three boards per contest.
We’ll have to see how the ‘Cuse defense holds up versus a Tigers group that can score points in droves. Syracuse basketball really needs to fare better with its perimeter shooting, and the rebounding arena will be critical.
I agree with the odds-makers that this should prove a close game. Given that the Orange is at the Dome, I’ll take the ‘Cuse to knock off LSU, 76-73.