Syracuse’s next opponent: What to know about Miami

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first_img Published on January 23, 2019 at 4:39 pm Contact Billy: | @Wheyen3 Comments Miami (9-8, 1-4 Atlantic Coast) travels north to take on Syracuse (13-5, 4-1) on Thursday night in the Carrier Dome. The Hurricanes are coming off a loss over the weekend to North Carolina, and their only conference win is against sub-.500 Wake Forest. SU comes off a week where it beat then-No. 1 Duke on the road and Pittsburgh at home.Here’s what to know about the Hurricanes before Thursday at 8 p.m. All-time series: Syracuse leads, 18-8Last time they played: Last Feb. 17, Syracuse beat Miami, 62-55. On the road, SU went into the half tied but pulled away in the second half. All three of the Orange’s leading scorers — Tyus Battle, Frank Howard and Oshae Brissett — played the game’s full 40 minutes. Howard led the way with 18 points and six assists. Brissett added 16 points of his own to go along with 12 rebounds, and Battle contributed 13 points. Marek Dolezaj joined them in double figures with 11 points, his highest scoring output last February.The Hurricanes struggled to make shots, finishing 20-of-59 from the field and 7-of 31 from 3-point range. Chris Lykes, the Miami point guard who returns for this season, led the Hurricanes with 14 points and four assists. Eventual NBA first-round pick Lonnie Walker added 12 points of his own.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Miami report: The Hurricanes are led by the 5-foot-7 Lykes. He leads Miami in scoring and assists, and he’ll spur any fastbreak attempts that the ‘Canes pursue. Lykes isn’t the only Miami weapon, though, as he’s joined by four teammates in double-figure scoring: Zach Johnson, Anthony Lawrence, Ebuka Izundu and Dejan Vasiljevic.Izundu is the size: He’s 6-foot-10, 232 pounds and plays the majority of the center minutes for Miami. He couples double-digit scoring with 9.4 rebounds per game and more than a block per contest. Izundu’s joined in the frontcourt by the 6-foot-7 Lawrence.The Hurricanes lack height besides those two, though, as Lykes is flanked by 6-foot-2 Johnson and 6-foot-3 Vasiljevic. Vasiljevic poses a major threat beyond the arc, making almost three 3s per game at a 44 percent clip. The smaller players also use their quickness to create turnovers, and three of the five Hurricanes’ starters rank nationally in steal percentage, per Lykes, Johnson and Lawrence. How Syracuse beats Miami: Take advantage of size mismatches. Howard will hold 10 inches over Lykes; Battle is four inches taller than Johnson; Hughes has three inches on Vasiljevic. The Orange have grown reliant on the 3-point shot at times during ACC play, but that’s not the way to beat the Hurricanes. Getting to the rim and finishing there will be crucial for SU. On the defensive end, Syracuse needs its zone’s length to take the same advantage. Miami shoots above average from 3-point distance, but SU’s tall guards should be able to close out and make long shots tough. If the Hurricanes are forced to penetrate, SU’s effective shot blockers should hold an even larger edge against such smaller opponents.Stat to know: 51.8 percent — That’s the percentage Miami’s opponents have shot from 2-point range against the undersized Hurricanes, well above the national average, per odds: Syracuse has a 76 percent chance to win, by a projected score of 72-64.Player to know: Chris Lykes, guard, No. 0Syracuse has struggled all season to contain opponents’ best guards: Think Cornell’s Matt Morgan and Buffalo’s CJ Massinburg. Lykes’ height at 5-foot-7, while notable, hasn’t stopped him from lighting up other teams in his career. His height is insignificant on the offensive end, because he’s learned how to play with his frame. The sophomore has scored in single digits just once this season. He’ll get his, but the Orange will have to prevent him from going for 25 to maintain a strong shot to win. center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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