5 things to know before No. 20 Syracuse faces No. 5 Maryland on Wednesday

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ No. 20 Syracuse (4-1) will travel to College Park, Maryland to play the No. 5 Terrapins (6-0) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday as part of the Big Ten-ACC Challenge.Here are five things you need to know before the matchup:Double troubleMaryland is the second top-five opponent the Orange will face only six games into the season.  Syracuse fell to then-No. 4 Tennessee on Nov. 20, 57-55.SU guard Brittney Sykes had a chance to tie the game with just six seconds left, but missed the first of two free throws before intentionally missing the second.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Orange went 0-3 against top five opponents last season and 0-6 against the top 10.“It really sucks when you lose a game by that close of a margin,” center Briana Day said. “… We’re in a desperation mode. We know we can do it. We want to prove to other people … how good we really are.”Head coach Quentin Hillsman said a win over Maryland would be a quality win on the road and have huge implications come Selection Monday. Starting point guard Alexis Peterson added that it’s easier to get upsets early in the season when it’s harder for teams to scout.Running drySyracuse has been outscored 90-71 in the third quarter this season. The Orange had to be saved by fourth quarter runs against Fordham, Washington and Rhode Island to avoid upsets.Hillsman said the defense has been solid for the full games, but that the offense needs to be more proactive.“It’s about scoring, man, we’re just not scoring,” Hillsman said. “We come out of the locker room and we’re just not productive scoring. We’ve got to be more productive scoring in the third quarter.”The Orange is outscoring its opponents 273-198 in the other quarters.In the paintMaryland boasts coaches’ All-Big Ten First Team center Brionna Jones, who is second on the team with 15.2 points per game and grabs a team-leading 10 rebounds per contest.Hillsman said the key to defending Jones is utilizing the 2-3 zone that Syracuse runs and not allowing her to get in the post one-on-one with SU’s Briana or Bria Day. He wants them to smother her off the ball to limit her touches.Briana Day said it’ll be a foot fight in the post and she’ll have to use her speed to get in front of Jones and in good position. If Briana Day can prevent Jones from scoring on rebounds, it’ll take away 15-20 of Maryland’s points, she said.“We’re a really good rebounding team and I know that Maryland is too,” Briana Day said. “If we get all of our primary rebounders down there and just box them out … we’ll be great.”Led by Jones, Maryland averages a 20.5 rebound advantage its opponents — third best in the country. Syracuse, averaging just a 0.8 advantage, is ranked 174th.Cloak and daggerSyracuse’s 14.4 steals per game ranks fourth in the country and has helped the Orange to an eighth-best 8.80 average turnover margin on the year.Peterson has spearheaded the SU defense with 23 steals this season.Movin’ On UpSyracuse rose three spots to No. 20 in the Associated Press Poll released Monday after off a 3-0 week, in which it beat Morgan State, 90-61, Washington, 66-62, and Fordham, 76-54.With a win over the Terrapins, the Orange could reach its highest-ever ranking.Last season, SU opened the season 8-1 and jumped to No. 19 in the poll — a program record. Comments Published on December 1, 2015 at 11:18 pm Contact Jon: jrmettus@syr.edu | @jmettuslast_img read more