Clemson vs. Syracuse Game Preview

Syracuse looks for first ACC win when the Clemson Tigers come to town Tuesday evening.

GAME 16: Clemson (8-6 overall, 1-1 ACC) vs. Syracuse (10-5 overall, 0-2 ACC)

ALL-TIME SERIES: Clemson, 3-1 (Last Meeting 2015 - Clemson: W, 66-53)

DATE: Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

GAME TIME: 8:00 PM EST

LOCATION: Carrier Dome

TV: ACC Network: This is not a local channel however it will be available on Time Warner Cable via the following channels CW: Channel 6 (Syracuse Area), WPNY (MyTV): Channel 12 (Utica Area), and ESPN College Extra: Channel 392 (sports package required).

Direct TV, Dish Network and Verizon Fios customers will need to check their guides, because these are local networks picking up a specific feed.  Check your guides and channels for spontaneous changes.

Those outside the CNY area will have to check local guides as well.  See ESPN 3 information below:

ESPN 3: this can be accessed on a variety of platforms if you have a Watch ESPN log in (free account).  Watch ESPN provides access to ESPN 3 content via an account and apps on the Internet, Tablets and Smart Phones. 

ORANGE RECAP:  The Orange has started ACC play in the opposite direction in which they finished their non-conference schedule.  They have opened up the league slate with two consecutive losses to #24/21 Pittsburgh Panthers (72-61) and #12/11 Miami Hurricanes (61-54).  Two of the biggest issues for the ‘Cuse has been sustainable scoring and staying power throughout games.  SU will often hang in games, but as the last five minutes approach in the second half they seem to run out of gas or maintain a high level of play.  Much of this is due to a lack of depth, which is a historical problem, but especially exacerbated this year when a player is down.  This was the case the last couple of games when Frank Howard was limited to just five minutes (Pitt) and a DNP (Miami) due to an illness that he is suffering from.  With Kaleb Joseph and Chinonso Obokoh playing few minutes overall, rest and condition becomes a huge burden on Syracuse’s core (Gbinije, Cooney, Roberson, Richardson and Lydon).  In the Miami game, Malachi Richardson made his presence felt again on a significant level for the first time since the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.  He logged 20 points and six rebounds to pace the Orange, and although a semi-down night Michael Gbinije still managed 10 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals.  However, Gbinije did have eight turnovers which contributed to the 19 that Syracuse had as a team, leading to inefficient offense (32.1% FG).  Bright spots came in the 11 rebounds that Tyler Roberson had, and the 10 rebounds that Tyler Lydon contributed.  SU had 41 rebounds, and this continues to be an improvement in their all-around effort on the court.  Traditionally the ‘Cuse are stronger than Clemson, but with last year’s loss to the Tigers and an Orange squad that is very unpredictable there is no game on the schedule in the ACC to be taken lightly.

CLEMSON: The Tigers come into the Dome after defeating Florida State (84-75) and falling to #6/7 North Carolina (80-69).  So, they have certainly shown they are competitive in the ACC, even though all eyes will be on the football version in the College Football Playoff Championship game the following Monday.  SU and Clemson have each beaten Texas Southern, however the biggest win out of conference this season came at the hands of Rutgers (Big 10).  Other victories came over low-major opponents such as North Carolina Central, USC Upstate and Presbyterian College.  But, with the struggles that the Orange have had lately, it would be ridiculous to look at Clemson’s schedule and assume this game will be a walk in the park.  The Tigers have three double digit scorers, Jaron Blossomgame (F, #5) with 15.0 ppg.,  Avry Holmes (G, #12) at 10.2 ppg. and Donte Grantham (F, #15) adding 10.1 ppg.  Blossomgame’s impact is stronger on the defensive end, where he has recorded 22 already this season.  With a rim protector like that, the Orange will hope that their three-point attempts will fall as Coleman and Roberson struggle offensively in the post.  Jordan Roper (G, #20), who shares the backcourt with Holmes, is coming off seven three-point field goals against FSU and will be looking to tear up the Syracuse zone.  Clemson actually had 10 three-point makes in the game, so closing out on shooters will be imperative for Syracuse.  In many ways this is an even match as both teams average near 70 points per game, and should be a real test for two teams destined near the middle of the pack in the ACC.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:

A bounce back game for Syracuse in their ACC home opener.  The Orange desperately need a conference win early in the league schedule.  Pittsburgh and Miami are both nationally ranked, but Clemson is one of those opponents that you have to beat at home and take care of business.

Offensive consistency.  Syracuse must find more efficient ways to score and find players who can be steady in this column.  Although they are freshmen, by ACC play Malachi Richardson and Tyler Lydon are really considered sophomores in terms of their experience on the floor.  Being freshmen is hardly an excuse in today’s college basketball culture, and each will need to up their scoring averages to near 15 points per game to provide the ‘Cuse with a lift on the score board.

Rebounding and defense.  The team that controls the glass and the team that defends well, will win this game.  No player really stands out for either squad, and therefore each possession will likely be a dog fight as Clemson and Syracuse look to be proficient on both ends of the floor.  Expect this game to be low scoring, with a few possessions and breaks determining the outcome.


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