Syracuse vs. UConn: Biggest Worries for the Orange

T.J. BrennanCorrespondent IIFebruary 13, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 04:  Shabazz Napier #13 of the Connecticut Huskies walks off the court after the loss to the North Carolina State Wolfpack during the Jimmy V Classic on December 4, 2012 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The North Carolina State Wolfpack defeated the Connecticut Huskies 69-65.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Despite being unranked, the University of Connecticut Huskies are a very tough team that can hang with No. 6 Syracuse on Wednesday. 

The Huskies boast experienced leadership and can expose some weaknesses in the Syracuse 2-3 zone. 

The Orange are going to have their hands full with the Huskies, and should really worry about some of the things the Huskies bring to the court. 

The first worry for the Orange is that they are not playing at the Carrier Dome.  All three of Syracuse’s losses this season have come away from home. 

Syracuse has lost its last two road games, both coming to unranked foes at the time in Villanova and Pittsburgh. 

If the game were at home for Orange, it really wouldn't be much of a contest.  Syracuse doesn't lose at home and holds the nation’s longest home winning streak.

Another worry the Orange need to have is how they plan to defend Shabazz Napier. 

Napier is one of the best guards in the conference and can take over a game on either side of the ball.  Offensively, he looks to get his teammates involved to take away some offensive pressure. 

When he’s taken the threat off of himself, he is able to absolutely take over a game.  Napier is a pace guy, and can change the speed of the game instantly.  His defense aids him with being able to speed up the tempo of the game.

Napier is a bit of a ninja defensively, but is one of the better pressing guards in the conference, maybe even the country, and he’s averaging 2.1 steals per game. 

So if the Orange are able to shut down Napier, they’ll be able to walk away with the win?

Not exactly. 

The Huskies have another guard, Ryan Boatright, who is almost as dangerous as Napier. Boatright is the guy who continually sets up Napier when he goes on stretches to take over the game, but can also be a primary scorer during a run.

The sophomore is averaging 15.8 points per game to go along with a team-leading 4.4 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game. 

If the Orange double team or trap Napier in the 2-3, Boatright has the quickness and shooting ability to own the free-throw line jumper that is a zone killer. 

It’s almost like the Huskies say “Pick your poison” to teams before games. 

It will be a tough night for the Orange at the XL Center on Wednesday night.