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A Brief By-The-Numbers Look At Syracuse

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YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles continue their season tomorrow afternoon with a trip to Ice Station Zebra Syracuse, New York, for a game against the Syracuse Orange. An Anonymous Eagle investigation has revealed that Syracuse is currently both undefeated and ranked #1 in the country in both polls. This could present an interesting test for Marquette. Then again, the last time Marquette and Syracuse hooked it up, Syracuse went home and Marquette was declared one of the 16 best teams in the country. If memory serves, Marquette also won the regular season matchup with the Orange last year.

Maybe Marquette head coach Buzz Williams has unlocked the secret to the vaunted Boeheim 2-3 zone. I guess we'll find out. In any case, it's not much of a stretch to say that this Syracuse team is probably better than the team that we saw last year.

With a tip of the hat to StatSheet.com, we look at some potentially relevant numbers after the jump.

1) They're not ranked #1 in the country for their health. Syracuse is ranked in the top 25 in the country in offensive efficiency (3rd), defensive efficiency (25th), field goal % (11th), effective field goal % (13th), points per game (12th), offensive rebound % (12th), assists per game (13th), steal % (1st!), and block % (2nd). YEESH.

2) When they're less than good, they're bad. While the Orange do a great job at grabbing what few misses they have, they're TERRIBLE when it comes to defensive rebounding %. Their DReb rate of 61.8% is #330 out of #345. You can tack on a Free Throw Rate ranking of #290 as well. Of course, this could just mean they're really awesome at jump shooting and most people won't foul a jump shooter.

That's it, though. I've got no other weaknesses to point to.

3) Dion Waiters is a machine. He doesn't start for the Orange, but he's their second leading scorer. SI.com's Luke Winn did a heck of a job explaining how Jim Boeheim deploys Waiters to the maximum advantage, relative to how other teams generally deploy their starters throughout a game.

Hmm. This seemed to be briefer than I expected. Well, it was a new experience for me. Perhaps as we progress through the season, I'll get the knack of this.