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Syracuse men’s basketball preview: What to know about No. 16 Ohio State

first_imgThe only true road game of Syracuse’s nonconference slate comes Wednesday night at Value Center Arena in Columbus, Ohio, where the unranked-Orange face No. 16 Ohio State. The Buckeyes enter the game undefeated at 6-0, handling their early season tune-ups with relative ease before their first legitimate challenge in Syracuse, which will have had a full week of rest following a blowout victory over Colgate. Rested and reloaded, Syracuse should offer on Wednesday a clear indicator of where it stands after the first month of the season. Here’s what you need to know about the matchup, part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. All-time series: Ohio State leads, 5-2Last time they played: On March 24, 2012 in the Elite Eight, Syracuse lost to OSU, 77-70. Point guard Brandon Triche scored 15 points for the Orange, who were also led by Scoop Jardine, Rakeem Christmas, CJ Fair and Kris Joseph. Jared Sullinger had a game-high 19 points for OSU. The teams first met in 1911, but they didn’t play again until the Jim Boeheim era was underway, in 1982. Their last two games came in the 2007 and 2012 NCAA Tournaments, both Ohio State wins. SU hasn’t won since Nov. 24, 2000, when Deshaun Williams scored 24 points. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Ohio State report: Ohio State finished last season 25-9, going 15-3 in the Big Ten. They had a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament, knocking off South Dakota State but falling to Gonzaga in the Round of 32. It was a surprise run for an OSU team led by Keita Bates-Diop, their top scorer and rebounder. He was a second-round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Widely picked to finish in the middle of the Big Ten pack this season, Ohio State is led by second-year head coach Chris Holtmann. An excellent defense has driven OSU’s hot start. Their man-t0-man defense is somewhat active. They also showed last week against Cleveland State that they can shoot the basketball: The Buckeyes drilled 59.4 percent of their attempts from the field and 62.5 percent from deep in the second half.Susie Teuscher | Digital Design EditorThe team’s best offensive player is Kaleb Wesson, whom we’ll get to later. Senior guard C.J. Jackson is shooting inefficiently (42.1 percent), but he places second on the team in scoring, with 12.7 points per game. Eight OSU players average at least 6.8 points per game, echoing a theme Holtmann has reiterated this season: depth and balance. They have some decent frontcourt size at the forward position and rely on inside-outside movement to generate points. “We want to feed the big fella as much as possible because he draws a lot of attention,” graduate transfer Keyshawn Woods recently told The Athletic. “Then once we get in the paint, we kick and find the open shot. For us, it’s all about the open shot in our offense, and we love sharing the ball. We get energized after an extra pass.”How Syracuse beats Ohio State: As the Syracuse coaching staff assembles the OSU scouting report, they’ll surely keep an eye on how balanced OSU’s offense has proven to be. Against a fledgling, underwhelming SU defense so far, that could be cause for concern. To win on the road, the Orange will have to reinforce its interior defense while getting out to shooters — exactly what the Orange didn’t do in losses to Connecticut and Oregon. Stat to know: 15 percent — Ohio State’s 3-point shooting percentage against Samford’s 2-3 zone. The Buckeyes like to share the ball on the perimeter and shoot 3s, especially against zones, so consider OSU’s perimeter shooting to be a key to watch Wednesday night.KenPom odds: KenPom gives Syracuse a 42 percent chance to win and predicts a 69-66 Ohio State victory. Player to watch: Kaleb Wesson, forward, No. 34The sophomore forward is 6-foot-9, 270 pounds — measurements alone that could give Syracuse senior center Paschal Chukwu and Co. a load of trouble. He averages 14.7 points and 5.8 rebound per game, a much better line than SU’s interior. He’s leading the Buckeyes in scoring, shoots fairly well from the line (73.5 percent) and he’s adept at hanging around the high post area, where he can shoot, play with his back to the basket, or pass to cutters and shooters. He could be a versatile handful for SU to try to contain. Comments Published on November 26, 2018 at 9:01 pm Contact Matthew: [email protected] | @MatthewGut21center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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