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Basketball: Georgia Tech vs. Syracuse Q&A Preview with Nunes Magician

As the Jackets get set to take on the Orange tonight, we talked to James Szuba from Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician.

NCAA Basketball: Georgia Tech at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

FTRS: As the Jim Boeheim era begins to wind down in Syracuse, what are fans opinions of Mike Hopkins and the direction of the program over the next decade or so?This is a team that has shown great improvement as the season has gone on. What have been the differences between the Syracuse of non-conference play and the Syracuse of conference play?

TNIAAM: It's certainly a mixed bag. Part of the fan base thinks that Hop is the right guy for the job and that it will be a relatively seamless transition with sustained success. The other portion thinks that Syracuse is such a name brand program that it could attract a top coach in the college game. There's definitely a fear that Hop's 4-5 record last season could be a harbinger of bad things to come.

This is a team that has shown great improvement as the season has gone on. What have been the differences between the Syracuse of non-conference play and the Syracuse of conference play? This is a team that has shown great improvement as the season has gone on. What have been the differences between the Syracuse of non-conference play and the Syracuse of conference play?

Well John Gillon has done a considerably better job at the point guard spot which has helped tremendously. The zone, although still not up to par, has been better too.

What should Tech fans look out for on Sunday? What will be the keys for Syracuse?

Andrew White has been scoring the ball so well recently. He's coming off a dismal shooting performance against Louisville so look for him to rebound offensively. Syracuse will have to score on that stingy Tech defense and defend equally as well on the other end. Sounds simple, but that's really it.

Who will be the x-factor for Syracuse offensively? Is there a player or two the Jackets defense needs to hone in on?

Tyler Roberson has the ability to be an x-factor type of player when he wants. His motor has always been in question, but when he brings it he's nearly unstoppable on the glass.

Since 2010, Syracuse hasn't had a team ranked worse than 19th in the country in defensive efficiency. This year they're ranked 100th. What's the biggest difference?

It's definitely taken the fifth-year transfer guys some time to learn the nuances of the zone. We have an entirely different starting five this year, so there's been a lot of turnover. The zone has improved but it's nothing like years past.

I'm going to take Syracuse in a close one. I think the Orange are now in desperation mode and it seems to respond with its back against the wall. Both teams are in need of a win so this should be fun.

Thanks again to James Szuba for joining us! You can find our answers to his questions over at SBNation’s Syracuse site, Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician.