Syracuse Orange Preview
The Syracuse Orange scraped together a scant 34 points in a season-opening, 14-point loss to visiting Virginia, marking the lowest total in coach Jim Boeheim’s 44-season run at the school. Syracuse shot 23.6 percent in that game and was outrebounded 47-28. That the Syracuse offense has functioned at normal levels since then offers hope of solving the always-tough Cavaliers in the rematch.
Elijah Hughes (19.6 points per game) and Buddy Boeheim (15.3) will be hunting for good looks against the pack-line defense, as each shoots just over 40 percent from 3-point range and love to let it fly. They were, however, merely a combined 4 of 18 in the earlier meeting against Virginia.
Virginia Cavaliers Preview
There’s no secret about the Virginia Cavaliers. They play at the slowest tempo in the country, according to kenpom.com, and suffocate opponents with their grinding defense, which allows a national-low 47.6 points and gives up just 34.7 percent shooting. The pace and pack-line are hallmarks of coach Tony Bennett, but this squad lacks the offensive punch that made the 2018-19 team complete and boosted Virginia to the national championship.
The Cavaliers are making only 27.3 percent of their 3-point attempts and are coming off a 60-53 loss at Boston College, which finished on a 15-3 run. Virginia hasn’t lost back-to-back games in almost three years and is on a four-game winning streak against Syracuse.