Syracuse men’s basketball roundtable: Everything to know before the ACC tournament

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Syracuse (19-12, 8-10 Atlantic Coast) plays a rubber match with Wake Forest (11-19, 4-14) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Barclays Center in the first round of the ACC tournament. Syracuse has historically struggled in Brooklyn, but will need to exorcise its demons and likely go on a mini run if it hopes to make the NCAA Tournament.Our beat writers take on three questions surrounding the Orange ahead of the conference tournament.Syracuse split with Wake Forest during the regular season. What does Syracuse need to do to fend off a pesky Demon Deacons team?Matthew Gutierrez: First, overcome whatever sort of ghosts lie under the Barclays Center floor that have doomed Syracuse, because SU has lost four in a row at that place. Fellow beat writer Tomer Langer, a native of the area, may know the answer.Aside from that, all the Orange really has to do is stick to its identity, which was on full display Saturday in its first win against a ranked opponent this season, as junior point guard Frank Howard pointed out. That’s strong defense — remember WFU’s six-straight 3-pointers? — and reliance on the big three scorers.Any contributions Marek Dolezaj can bring, and any sort of job players can do to minimize turnovers, are plusses. It’s not necessary a formula to beat quality teams, but it’s a way to scrape by.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSam Fortier: Erase Bryant Crawford. Wake Forest goes as their do-it-all guard does, and if Syracuse’s defense prevents him from draining three corner 3s down the stretch — as he did in WFU’s Jan. 3 win — than the Orange should be fine. He greases the wheels, assisting on nearly one-third of his team’s buckets, per, and is a serviceable shooter from all over the floor.SU’s thin frontcourt should be worrisome against 7-foot-1, 280-pound big man Doral Moore, but as long as the Orange keeps him off the boards they should be OK. So, OK, there’s a lot to do to beat Wake Forest in a venue it’s faced some mighty struggles in, but Syracuse should — should — be able to do it.Tomer Langer: Contain Doral Moore on the inside and hope he doesn’t get the ball too much. Moore is fairly athletic and posed some issues for the sometimes slow-footed Paschal Chukwu on the inside the last time these two teams matched up. SU head coach Jim Boeheim said after the Boston College loss last week that Chukwu is playing on sore knees. And while Syracuse’s center did have a nice double-block sequence against Clemson on Saturday, there were multiple times the Tigers got easy buckets on the inside.A lot of the focus will be on Wake Forest’s 3-point shooting after the Demon Deacons hung around in Syracuse back in mid-February by raining from deep. But if SU stretches the zone too far out, Moore can cause matchup issues in an area in which the Orange is depleted.With games on consecutive days throughout the ACC Tournament, will SU’s short bench play a factor?M.G.: You’d like to think so. But because Syracuse didn’t play a preseason tournament against formidable opponents, we don’t really know the answer. Syracuse had little rest between its home loss to No. 1 Virginia and its impressive win at Louisville, so it’s possible that SU can play when tested on short rest. Where it would get murky is if SU must play three or four in a row. Syracuse played three games in five days back in November, but that was in the Carrier Dome versus, you know, teams that visit the Carrier Dome in November.S.F.: Yes. Jim Boeheim’s strategy, which to his credit has seemed to work this season, is that media timeouts provide players adequate rest to get through a game without fatigued legs dooming his team at the end. That works for single games. Now, the ACC tournament schedule foists an untenable workload on Syracuse players who have shouldered heavy burdens this season already, timeouts be damned.Playing nearly 40 minutes a night is tiring, freshman forward Oshae Brissett admitted Saturday, but he hits the ice baths hard in between games to get himself right in the approximately two- to four-day rests he usually has. But there’s none of that now. While a short bench doesn’t guarantee a loss or anything that drastic, it’s going to impact this team and tire them out more than normal.T.L.: Conceivably, yes. I just think it’s a bit overstated how much. SU’s short bench has played a factor all year, even when there’s been rest in between the games, because if guys aren’t on their game, Boeheim has no one else to put in. And, for any team, it would be hard to have to play on the first day and win five-straight games to secure the ACC Tournament crown.But the Orange is used to its playing style, and I don’t think the back-to-back days element will be too different than it is for other teams, because teams tend to ride their star players and shorten the bench in important games, anyway.How many games does Syracuse need to win to make the NCAA Tournament?M.G.: The magic number here might be three. Two wins would probably be attractive in the eyes of the Selection Committee, but that still puts Syracuse in cloudy bubble territory, I think, while three wins this week in Brooklyn punches Syracuse’s ticket to the Big Dance. Three wins would prove that Syracuse can play away from home consistently, beat one or two quadrant one teams, and withstand the rigors of one of the toughest conference tournaments in college hoops.That, of course, means big games from the big three every night and a fourth scorer in Dolezaj. Without the latter, the NIT may be Syracuse’s final destination.S.F.: Two. If Syracuse beats Wake Forest, that impresses no one. But beating a well-rested, top-10 team on the second night of a back-to-back? That would automatically replace Clemson as the Orange’s marquee win of the season and get some double takes from the Selection Committee.No matter what, this won’t be an anxiety-free process. Syracuse fans should intently watch other bubble teams like UCLA, Marquette, Alabama, Baylor, Oklahoma State and, yes, Mike Hopkins-led Washington. Two wins won’t inspire the most confidence, but it’ll get the Orange into the NCAA Tournament in the same way an action hero always slides underneath a heavy, descending door just in time.T.L.: Can I say 2.5? It’s definitely more than one and it really depends on what other bubble teams do as well. Sam is right in saying that if SU beats Wake Forest and then goes on to beat UNC, it would be the marquee win of the season. That being said, picking up really your only marquee win of the season in March might not be enough to sway a committee that looks at a team’s body of work and doesn’t put as much stock into recency. Two wins would give the Orange a jolt, and I think three wins would assure a spot. Comments Published on March 5, 2018 at 10:08 pmlast_img read more

Sweeney makes presence felt in Australia

first_imgBallyporeen’s Conor Sweeney has made his presence felt in the opening International Rules game down under.It’s advantage Australia after the first of two tests against Ireland.The hosts will take a 10-point lead into the second game in Perth next Saturday after getting a 63-53 victory in Adelaide this morning. Monaghan’s Conor McManus led the scoring for Ireland with 25 with Michael Murphy of Donegal adding 20.Tipperary’s Conor Sweeney added 3 points – thanks to one over.last_img

Final buildup: Arsenal v Chelsea – head-to head, team news and more

first_imgArsene Wenger will attempt to end his Jose Mourinho hoodoo when Arsenal host Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium, live on Super Sunday.The Gunners, who have won more points in 2015 than any other Premier League side, find themselves 10 points adrift of Chelsea at the top of the table and their slim title hopes rest on victory over the Blues.However, Arsenal, who lost 2-0 in the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge last October, have only won two of their last 12 league matches against Chelsea and Wenger has never beaten Mourinho when the Portuguese manager is in the opposition dugout.Mourinho will be hoping to extend that run to hand Chelsea a win that would take them to within three points of a first league title in five years.The clash will also see former Arsenal skipper Cesc Fabregas return to the Emirates for the first time as an opposing player and he will be hoping to add to his league-high 16 Premier League assists this season.Team news Per Mertesacker is doubtful because of an ankle injury picked up in last weekend’s FA Cup semi-final win over Reading.Gabriel Paulista is ready to come in at centre-half. Goalkeeper David Ospina, as well as full-backs Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal, are expected to return, having sat out last weekend’s FA Cup semi-final against Reading at Wembley.Captain Mikel Arteta (ankle) and midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (groin) are still not match fit.Mourinho will make a late decision on whether to risk Diego Costa’s fragile hamstrings at the Emirates.Costa has missed the last two matches, but could return ahead of schedule in place of Didier Drogba, who is fit after an ankle knock, as Chelsea seek a win which would see them move within three points of the title. Striker Loic Remy (calf) is definitely out, so Dominic Solanke could come on to the substitutes’ bench if Costa fails to make it.Head-to-head– This is going to be the 170th game between these sides in all competitions– Arseanal have beaten Chelsea 0n 66 occasions, with Chelsea winning 55 and 48 matches ended in draws– Arsenal have failed to score in any of their last four meetings with Chelsea (in all competitions). They have conceded 10 in those four games.– They have won just two of their last 12 league clashes with Chelsea (D2 L8).– The Gunners’ last home win over Chelsea was back in 2010. Since then, there have been two 0-0 draws and a 2-1 defeat in the Premier League, along with a 2-0 League Cup defeat.– In the reverse fixture against the Blues back in October, Arsenal failed to have a shot on target for the first time in a Premier League match since September 2003.– Wenger, the Arsenal manager, is yet to beat Mourinho in 12 meetings ahead of his side’s top-of-the-table Premier League clash at the Emirates Stadium.  Arsenal– Arsenal are aiming for a ninth consecutive league victory. They have won their last 11 matches in all domestic competitions and their tally of 33 points in 2015 is higher than any other Premier League side.– The Gunners are looking for a 10th consecutive league victory at the Emirates. They haven’t dropped points at home since losing 2-1 to Manchester United on 22 November.– It is over a year since Arsenal last failed to score in a league match at the Emirates – a 0-0 draw with Man Utd in February 2014.– Arsene Wenger has lost just five competitive home games by a 3+ goal margin during his tenure as Arsenal manager; three of those have come against Chelsea.– Olivier Giroud has scored 10 goals in his last 12 matches in all competitions.           Chelsea– Chelsea are looking for a fifth consecutive Premier League victory, which would be their best winning run of the season.– The Blues are aiming for a sixth consecutive away victory in the top flight. The last time they dropped points away from home was also in north London – a 5-3 defeat at Tottenham on New Year’s Day.– Chelsea have scored in their last 19 league games – the only team to stop them scoring in any competition this season is Sunderland.– Jose Mourinho has never lost as an opposition coach against Arsene Wenger in any competition (W7 D5 L0).– Chelsea have scored first in all 20 of their games in all competitions in 2015.– Cesc Fabregas has a league-high 16 Premier League assists this season. Only Thierry Henry (20 in 2002-03), Frank Lampard (18 in 2004-05) and Fabregas himself (17 in 2007-08) have ever registered more in a single Premier League campaign.–last_img read more