Syracuse vs. UConn Basketball: Top 10 Reasons Orange Will Win on Wednesday
After four straight losses, the Syracuse Orange are lucky to still be ranked 17th in both polls this week.
The skid has most SU fans reaching for the panic button, but here are 10 reasons why that losing streak will come to an end at UConn on Wednesday.
History Is on Their Side
If you are big on historical statistics, then this should calm your nerves: Syracuse is 50-35 all-time against UConn and is 17-17 away from the Carrier Dome.
The Orange haven't won on the road at UConn since 1999, but still, a .500 visiting record against any Big East team is an achievement, especially against UConn.
If that stat scares you, how about this? Syracuse has won two straight and four of the last six against the Huskies.
Not on Boeheim's Watch
Syracuse has lost four straight games for the first time since January of 2006. That ties the longest losing streak under the Jim Boeheim era. If Boeheim hasn't lost five straight games in his 35-year career, then why would he start now?
Syracuse has actually been better than UConn against common opponents. The Huskies and Orange both played against Michigan State, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Notre Dame and Marquette. The only common loss was at Pittsburgh. The Panthers beat UConn 78-63 and Syracuse 74-66.
The Orange have outscored these common opponents 350-349. The Huskies have been outscored 345-340 by the same teams.
First Half Follies
The first half of this game is critical to both teams. UConn is 11-1 this season when leading at the break—Syracuse is 18-0. In the Orange's four losses, they fell behind by 11 or more points before the break.
A strong start against UConn could help pick up that elusive W, even if it is on the road in Hartford.
He Ain't So Bad
Bring it, Kemba Walker. Who cares that the junior guard is the third leading scorer in the country, averaging more than 24 points a game? That means nothing against the Syracuse 2-3 zone.
In his career, Walker is scoring less than 10 points against the Orange and has made one shot from behind the arc.
In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb
UConn's Jeremy Lamb has been tearing it up lately. He just racked up his fifth straight double-double over the weekend and is averaging just under 18 points in his last five games.
Lamb is definitely a great talent, but he's also a freshman in the Big East. On the season, he's scoring 9.6 ppg.
He will have to contend with the long-armed Syracuse front line led by Rick Jackson—the Big East leader in blocked shots and rebounds.
Scoop Is Back
No one has played worse during this four-game losing streak than junior point guard Scoop Jardine.
He averaged 8.5 points and three rebounds in the Orange's first three losses but bounced back against Marquette over the weekend. Jardine recorded his first double-double of the season with 13 points and 13 assists and, more importantly, played under control.
If this Scoop shows up Wednesday, then Syracuse definitely has a chance.
They're Heating Up
It looks like the Syracuse offense is starting to take shape again. They looked much better against Marquette, shooting 57.1 percent from the field and 46.2 percent from three-point range. The Orange shot just 39.5 percent from the floor in their previous three losses.
Hit the Boards
It's not easy rebounding out of a 2-3 zone, but the Orange better body up. The Huskies have one of the worst shooting percentages in the Big East. They are connecting on 40.7 percent of their shots and are shooting just 28.6 percent from three-point range.
That's a lot of rebounds up for grabs and potential points in the transition game for Jardine, Kris Joseph and Brandon Triche.
Rick Jackson is the single most important player on the floor for the Orange. He leads the Big East in rebounds, blocked shots and double-doubles with 14.
Jackson also leads the Orange in minutes played this season and has been put through the grinder in the last four losses. He played all but five minutes over the skid, which could have been the reason why he had a season-low four rebounds over the weekend.
With three days off, Jackson will be back to full strength and will be a factor inside.