Men's Basketball

Syracuse men’s basketball opponent preview: What to know about Miami

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Tyler Roberson and the Orange will need to find ways to plug up the holes on defense if they want to secure a win against Miami on Wednesday.

Syracuse’s season is quickly spiraling out of control, but the Orange (8-6, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) has a chance for its first conference win when Miami (11-2, 1-0) visits the Carrier Dome at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. The Hurricanes took care of N.C. State, 81-63, in their ACC opener, and come into the Dome having allowed 67 or fewer points in all but one game this season.

Here’s everything you need to know about the matchup.

All-time series: Syracuse leads, 16-7.

Last time they played: The Orange has dropped its last two games with Miami, the most recent being a 64-51 result on Jan. 2, 2016 in Coral Gables, Florida. Then-No. 13 Miami only hit 3-of-25 3-pointers against an unranked SU team, but the Hurricanes made 17 more free throws and took 20 more foul shots than Syracuse. Malachi Richardson led the visitors with 20 points, and Tyler Roberson and Tyler Lydon each grabbed double-digit rebounds. Sheldon McClellan, who doesn’t return to this year’s Miami team, led the Hurricanes with 22 points in the win.

The Miami report: Miami holds opponents to 29.7 percent from behind the arc, according to Kenpom.com, good for 27th in the country, and 41 percent from inside the arc, ranking 16th in the nation. The Hurricanes also come in at eighth nationally in Kenpom’s effective field goal percentage defensive rating.

Ja’Quan Newton leads UM with 15.8 points per game, followed closely by Davon Reed’s 14.6 points per contest. Newton is the only player used on more than 24 percent of possessions while on the court, per Kenpom, and he’ll likely be the main focus for SU’s defense. He scored 14 points in the win against Syracuse last season. The Hurricanes also have two players shooting over 39 percent from deep, Reed (39.5 percent) and reserve Dejan Vasiljevic (40.7).

How Syracuse beats the Hurricanes: It will take a lot these days for SU to pull off an upset, let alone win a game. But aside from fixing every possible aspect on the defensive side of the ball, Syracuse needs production from its point guards. Against Boston College, John Gillon and Frank Howard combined to shoot 3-of-16 from the field and missed all six 3s they took. SU is struggling to find the right lineup, and its two floor generals certainly aren’t helping that dilemma with subpar performances that push the Orange to the bottom of the ACC.

Stat to know:
24.3 – Only 24.3 percent of Miami’s points come from behind the arc, 304th in the country according to Kenpom. The Hurricanes will inevitably try to penetrate the zone like most teams have been able to. It’s just a matter of how much Syracuse can plug the gaps.

Player to watch: Davon Reed, guard, No. 5

If there is a Hurricane that will hurt Syracuse from behind the arc, it’ll be Reed. He leads the team with 76 3-pointers attempted and his 39.5-percent mark is a team second-best. He’s the best 3-point shooter of Miami’s starters and shoots over 44 percent from the field. Reed averages the most minutes on the team with 33.3 and also shoots at an 80-percent clip from the charity stripe.

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