With every basketball game that Indiana plays this season we will take a look at three things to watch that could be important for that game.
Here are the three keys for Syracuse:
1. CONTROL THE BOARDS
Indiana comes into today's game with Syracuse leading the nation in rebounding at 50.3 per game. Syracuse averages around 36 rebounds. When the two teams met last year in the Sweet Sixteen, IU held a slim 34-33 edge but 6-8 forward C.J. Fair pounded the glass and had nine rebounds to go along with his 11 points. The Orange returns most of the rebounding from that team. A key in this one will be Indiana limiting Syracuse to one shot.
2. HIT SOME EARLY THREES
Three-point shooting hasn't been Indiana's strength early in the year but it will be important for Yogi Ferrell, Will Sheehey and even a player like Jeremy Hollowell to knock down a few early against Syracuse's aggressive 2-3 zone. When the teams met in the Sweet Sixteen, Indiana was 3-of-15 from 3-point range. Sheehey is the only player returning that even attempted one against the Orange and he missed all three of his attempts. If IU can hit some perimeter shots early though, it will just open things up a little bit more of Noah Vonleh in the middle.
3. HANDLE A TRUE ROAD ENVIRONMENT
Indiana played two games away from home 10 days ago at Madison Square Garden but there were a lot of Indiana fans in the building. The Carrier Dome will be IU's first real road game of the season and its last until facing Illinois in Champaign in the Big Ten opener on New Year's Eve. A young IU team can't afford to let the crowd get into it especially early on in this one. This will likely be a growing experience for several of IU's younger players.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch