What To Watch For Vs. Syracuse

Matthew McGavic

So far in their busy week where they play 3 games in a 7 day span, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are 2-2 after a narrow victory over Bethune-Cookman followed by a more comfortable win against the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. They'll finish the week this Saturday against Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim and his Syracuse Orange. Tipoff is set for 12:00pm at McCamish Pavilion and can be found on the ACC Network.

Here are a couple of the more significant storylines to follow ahead of Tech's 12th all-time matchup with the Orange:

Rocky Start

The Orange might be under the guidance of a Hall of Fame coach, but this season hasn't exactly started on the right foot for Cuse. They have a 4-4 mark on the season, which is Jim Boeheim's worst start of his career and Syracuse's worst start since 1970. Over the offseason, they lost 3 of their top 4 scorers and are only retuning 2 players that averaged at least 5 points per game in 2018-19. As a result, the Orange as a whole have the 4th worst scoring offense in the ACC at 69.0 points per game, just a tick below Tech's 71.0 PPG.

Raining Threes

Syracuse has a pair of double digits scorers in forward Elijah Hughes (17.8 PPG) & Jim Boeheim's son, guard Buddy Boeheim (12.6 PPG), and both have a speciality in three point shooting. Boeheim is shooting 34.4% and Hughes is 6th in the ACC at 41.9%. As a team, 45.4% of the Orange's field goals attempts are beyond the arc, which is 39th in the nation and second in the ACC behind Virginia Tech (48.5% - 12th).

Pass The Rock

The offense has been spotty at times for Syracuse, but where they do excel is ball movement and finding open players. Hughes and point guard Joseph Girard have over 30 assists on the season, with the duo as well as Buddy Boeheim all ranked in the KenPom top 500 in assist rate. In fact, the Orange have assisted on 69.0% of their made field goals, the most among Power 5 teams and third in the country, behind only Maine and Portland.

Attack of the Zone

Over the course of Jim Boeheim's tenure as the head coach at Syracuse, perhaps what he has been known for the most is his vaunted 2-3 zone defense and its ability to force teams to take bad outside shots. This year is no exception, as Syracuse is forcing teams to attempt 51.4% of their field goals from beyond the arc. However, it might not be as effective as it has been in years past, as opposing teams are assisting on 67.6% of their made field goals against Syracuse.

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