DAYTON, Ohio (WSYR-TV) - The Syracuse University men's basketball team will play an NCAA First Four game today against Arizona State.
Tip-off is set for 9:!0 p.m. in Dayton, Ohio.
What does SU need to do to advance to a first-round game against Texas Christian University?
NewsChannel 9 Sports Director Steve Infanti breaks it down:
Keep Holder in Check:
Arizona State's leading scorer is Tra Holder who averages better than 18 points per game.
The senior guard has shown that he's capable of going off for a big game.
Fifteen times already this season, Holder has scored 20 or more points.
His best games seem to come against the best opponents in the biggest spots.
Holder went for 40 points against Xavier, 31 points at Arizona, and 29 points at Kansas.
SU needs to be aware of where he is at all times.
The Sun Devils have four players in their rotation making at least 37% of their three-pointers on the season.
That's a challenge for the zone -- having to defend so many quality perimeter shooters -- but it starts with keeping Holder in check.
Pace of Play
Arizona State is ranked among the top 20 nationally in scoring offense while Syracuse is ranked among the top 20 nationally in scoring defense.
The Sun Devils are averaging better than 83 points per game. They want to get up and down the floor. They want this to be a fast-paced game.
SU, meanwhile, is only averaging 67 points per game.
That number dips below 65 points if you consider just ACC contests.
It'll be important for the Orange to control the tempo.
One way this can be accomplished, is by taking care of the basketball.
Last time out, Syracuse turned it over quite a bit early on, which allowed North Carolina to get out in transition.
UNC had 12 points off turnovers in the first half, allowing the Tar Heels to take control.
SU wants this game against Arizona State to be played in the 60s.
Limiting turnovers and getting back on defense will help to accomplish this.
Get on the Glass
Another way Syracuse can control the pace of play is by limiting Arizona State to one shot.
Rebounding has been a strength all year long for SU.
The Orange has a +4.5 rebounding edge per game this season.
In fact, 'Cuse has lost the rebounding battle just seven times this season.
Jim Boeheim's guys went on to lose all seven of those games.
On the other hand, Arizona State is not a good rebounding team.
The Sun Devils were outrebounded 16 times this season.
On average, ASU was outrebounded by almost four boards per game during conference play.
Syracuse may struggle scoring, but rebounding is one area that the Orange has an edge in this matchup.
SU needs to make the most of its size advantage to get some second-chance points, while limiting Arizona State's opportunities at the other end.
If the Orange can get that done, a matchup on Friday night against TCU in Detroit could very well be in the cards.
The Syracuse University men's basketball team has surprised some…
No. 11 seed Syracuse will face No. 3 seed Michigan State in the…