The sixth ranked Syracuse Orange (20-3) take on the unranked Connecticut Huskies (16-6) in a game that marks the last time that these two schools will play each other as Big East foes. This will be the 91st time that these two storied programs will battle it out on the hardwood.
Keys to the game for the Orange:
1. Contain Connecticut's trio of guards:
Connecticut boasts one of the Big East Conference's best backcourts as their three leading scorers are all guards. Connecticut boasts elite guards in Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright, and Omar Calhoun. Napier is the best of the three as he is averaging 17.2 points which ranks fifth in the Big East this season.
2. Limit the turnovers:
The Syracuse Orange are struggling to take care of the basketball this season. The Orange are averaging 10.4 turnovers per game during Big East play, which ranks second to worst in the conference. Connecticut will likely apply full-court pressure on Michael Carter-Williams, as he has struggled taking care of the ball all season long.
3. Stretch the floor:
The Orange need to improve their three point efficiency against Connecticut in order to win the game. Syracuse is shooting just 32 percent from deep in conference play this season, which ranks ninth in the Big East. In addition, Connecticut is allowing conference foes to shoot just 29.8 percent from three this season.
Key players' statistics predictions:
Michael Carter-Williams: 34 minutes, 2-6 from the field, 1-3 from three point range, 2-2 from the free throw line, 9 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds, 4 turnovers
Brandon Triche: 35 minutes, 6-13 from the field, 2-5 from three point range, 4-6 from the free throw line, 18 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 turnovers
C.J. Fair: 36 minutes, 7-14 from the field, 0-2 from three point range, 5-6 from the free throw line, 19 points, 2 assists, 7 rebounds, 1 turnover
Shabazz Napier: 35 minutes, 5-15 from the field, 2-7 from three point range, 4-4 from the free throw line, 16 points, 3 assists, 1 rebound, 5 turnovers
Ryan Boatright: 34 minutes, 5-11 from the field, 2-5 from three point range, 3-4 from the free throw line, 15 points, 6 assists, 0 rebounds, 3 turnovers
Final score prediction:
Syracuse Orange 70, Connecticut Huskies 63