3 keys: Syracuse needs to maximize possessions, take care of ball against Bryant

first_img Related Stories Massa’s warrior-like faceoff style transforming Bryant lacrosseResurgent Daddio prepares to face biggest challenge yet in Bryant’s Massa in NCAA tournament openerGetting to know Syracuse’s 1st-round opponent Bryant Beat writers predict Syracuse to beat Bryant and advance to 2nd round of NCAA tournament Published on May 11, 2014 at 2:15 pm Contact Jesse: [email protected] | @dougherty_jesse No. 4 Syracuse (11-4, 2-3 Atlantic Coast) faces No. 16 Bryant (15-4, 5-1 Northeast) in the first round of the NCAA tournament after the Bulldogs edged Siena in Wednesday’s play-in game. Last May, Syracuse beat Bryant 12-7 in the first round of the tournament. Here are three keys for the second-seeded Orange to do so again. 1. Faceoffs, faceoffs, faceoffs It’s been the story of the season for Syracuse and the NCAA tournament is promising to offer more of the same. Since SU’s 21-7 loss to Duke on March 23, senior faceoff specialist Chris Daddio has transformed his game at the X and fueled seven wins in eight games. But Daddio didn’t have to face Bryant’s Kevin Massa in that span. The Bulldogs’ specialist leads the country with a 71.4 faceoff percentage — no other player wins faceoffs at a 70 percent clip or higher — and won 6-of-7 fourth-quarter draws in Bryant’s win against Siena. Moreover, Massa won 22-of-23 faceoffs and helped the Bulldogs build a sizable lead before the Orange came back last year. Daddio went 0-for-9 in that game, and SU can’t afford another one-sided matchup. 2. Smart possessionsWith Massa’s past success against Daddio and the Orange as a whole, Syracuse will have to make the most of its offensive possessions. Maximizing its success at the X, Bryant also takes long possessions, only heightening the importance of SU’s ball security and shot selection. Kevin Rice said earlier in the week that if Daddio secures 50 percent of the faceoffs, Syracuse will be just fine. The Orange attack has proven this season that it can score whenever given the ball — like when it helped the team to a 12-10 win over John Hopkins despite winning just four faceoffs on March 15 — and it will need to make that apparent again Sunday. AdvertisementThis is placeholder text3. Keeping things clear Sticking to the possession theme, Syracuse can’t afford to give any up. Bryant’s ride wasn’t particularly aggressive against Siena, as the Saints went 15-for-18 on clears in the game. But the Saints did fail on two clearing attempts in the second half while Bryant took control of the game. Heading into the tournament, Syracuse is 37th in the country with a 86.4 clearing percentage. Bryant is 31st and one or two turnovers could be the difference in the game. Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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