Syracuse Basketball: Orange Look to End Losing Skid, Face No. 10 Louisville

Barry LeonardAnalyst IIIMarch 1, 2013

Jan 19, 2013; Louisville, KY, USA;  Syracuse Orange guard Michael Carter-Williams (1) celebrates with his teammates after time expired in the second half against the Louisville Cardinals at the KFC Yum! Center.  Syracuse defeated Louisville 70-68.  Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange need to be in desperation mode on Saturday against the No. 10 Louisville Cardinals. The Orange have lost two straight games to ranked opponents and have fallen to fourth place in the Big East.

'Cuse was riding high in mid-January after a 70-68 upset victory of then No. 1 Louisville.

In that game, point guard Michael Carter-Williams took over in the second half and led his team to the win. The sophomore finished with 16 points and seven assists. Senior guard Brandon Triche had a stellar game against the Cardinals, scoring 23 points and contributing six rebounds.

Things are much different this time around. Syracuse has not been playing well as of late, losing five of its last 10 games. The team has been inconsistent and unable to shoot a high percentage from the floor.

Syracuse ranks 39th in the nation in points scored, at 74 a game. The team is ranked 96th in field goal percentage at just 44.7 percent a game. The Orange spent much of the year ranked in the top 10 of rebounding, but now find themselves at 16th, with 39.5 boards a game.

The Orange are led by Triche, who scores 14.5 points a game. Forward C.J. Fair is right behind him with 14.4 points a game. Carter-Williams has seen his numbers decline in recent days, now scoring 12.5 points a game with 7.9 assists per game. He is no longer the nation's leader in assists.

If Syracuse hopes to come out on top, it's going to have to limit the mistakes and get back to playing the solid basketball it was just a month ago.

Louisville enters the game at Syracuse on a bit of a hot streak. After losing three straight in January, including the loss to Syracuse, the Cardnials have since gone 7-1, including four in a row. 

They are led on offense by junior guard Russ Smith, who averages 18.4 points a game. In the last meeting, Smith led all scorers with 25 points.

The Cardinals have been playing great defense recently, allowing over 61 points just once in the last eight games. The frontcourt combination of Chane Behanan and Gorgui Dieng creates matchup problems for many teams.

Though neither team is ranked as high as they had hoped at this point, this will still be a great Big East matchup.