Syracuse may be perfect on the young season, but Tyus Battle isn’t at the moment. The Orange may be without their top player Monday when they host Maryland as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
Battle is averaging 20 points per game, and that total is brought down by an eight-point effort in 29 minutes against Toledo his last time out. Battle shot 4-of-14 in that one before leaving with a sore back, and he is considered a game-time decision for Monday’s contest. His absence would be a huge blow for Syracuse, which is unbeaten so far but has yet to surpass 80 points in a game despite playing smaller, non-Power 5 schools. Maryland, meanwhile, can claim a win over Butler and more recently bounced back from a loss to St. Bonaventure with a 15-point triumph over New Mexico.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2
ABOUT MARYLAND (6-1): The Terps prevailed over New Mexico 80-65 with Anthony Cowan (21 points on 6-of-8 shooting) leading the way. Cowan’s shooting percentage is way up from last season, when he averaged 10.3 points, and he had been taking care of the ball nicely before turning it over 12 times over the previous two games. After Cowan (15.3 points), the next top scorers for the Terps are Kevin Huerter (10.7), Bruno Fernando (10.3) and Justin Jackson (9.3), who leads the team with 9.1 rebounds but is shooting a disappointing 36.1 percent from the floor.
ABOUT SYRACUSE (5-0): The Orange have gotten solid production out of their two big men - Paschal Chukwu and Bourama Sidibe, who are both shooting above 70 percent on the young season. The duo has combined to provide Syracuse with 10.6 points, 11.4 rebounds, 4.4 blocks and 1.8 steals. Frank Howard, who has been somewhat of a non-factor during his first two seasons, has erupted for 43 points over the last two games with 10 assists and only two turnovers during that span.
1. Battle only has five turnovers in 156 total minutes this season.
2. Maryland won the first five all-time meetings with Syracuse but has lost the last three.
3. The Terps rank 21st in the nation in points allowed, giving up 60 per game.
PREDICTION: Maryland 69, Syracuse 62