Syracuse is set to compete in their first ACC Tournament in school history. Despite having a high seed wrapped up in the NCAA Tournament, there are still important things for the Orange to accomplish.
1. Get Cooney back on track
Trevor Cooney started the season on fire. Then conference play began, and he cooled off. Outside of one epic performance against Notre Dame, Cooney never rounded back into form. He showed flashes at the end of the Florida State game, and now has an opportunity o get back into rhythm. That would be huge for Syracuse's postseason fate.
2. Secure the East Region
With a solid performance in Greensboro, Syracuse can get what they wanted before the season started. A slot in the East Region, and tournament games in Buffalo and New York City. A win on Friday likely secures that, but two wins would all but clinch it. Having quasi-home games would be a huge advantage as the Orange try to make back-to-back Final Fours.
3. Continue gaining momentum
Syracuse went through a prolonged offensive slump towards the end of the regular season. That turned around in against Florida State, when Jerami Grant's return sparked the best offensive performance in over a month. Continuing to play well will only help with their confidence entering the NCAA Tournament. Look for Syracuse to try to get out in transition a bit more. Accomplishing number one above would also go a long way here. Grant and Tyler Ennis attacking the rim while C.J. Fair continues to hit the mid-range jumper makes Syracuse very difficult to guard.
4. Get the zone back on track
During the offensive slump, the 2-3 zone suffered as well. The rotations were less crisp, the baseline was wide open and Syracuse was seemingly helpless. Against Florida State, things turned around. Grant's return meant more length, more deflections and more turnovers. The zone rotated much better, sealing up the vulnerabilities inside and forced more contested shots. Keeping the zone rolling is important for the Orange.
5. Stay healthy
Maybe the most important thing for this tournament is to stay healthy. That means no setbacks for Grant or Baye Keita. No unforeseen injuries. The Orange want to be 100% heading into the NCAA Tournament.