Syracuse, ranked 7th in both the AP/USA Today polls goes for win #13 on the season as they open Big East play against Rutgers in the Dome tonight. Game time is 7PM and is on the Big East Network, MSG, and TWC depending on where you are. Syracuse’s youth has shown recently and the upperclassmen have got to start taking over a bit more as the conference season kicks off. Brandon Triche in particular needs to find his game and stop looking so out of control, he’s a senior and has been there done that, time to act it and light it up kid. C.J. Fair needs to be more assertive, the kid is a beast when he wants to be. Other than that Baye Moussa Keita and James Southerland are it as far as upperclassmen and James has been up and down as well. Keita looks like a guy that gets it this year. The rest of the team (talking scholarship players here) are all sophomores and freshmen, damn good sophs and froshs, but young nevertheless. Christmas is starting to show signs of his high ranking coming out of HS and Coleman, although he has had some glimpses, is still a Freshman big man, oft said to be the hardest transition to college is the big guys.
Here comes Rutgers. The team talks more than it wins in this series (38-9 SU) and sports a current 9-2 record. That may be a lot of smoke and mirrors even compared to the oft spoken soft schedule of SU. Still, aside from a season opening loss to St. Peter’s they lost to Mississippi on the road as part of the Big East/SEC Challenge. They have beaten most of the teams they are expected to beat but they do have a softer than SU schedule. With Syracuse seemingly fighting out of a slump in their last game, we will see how they fair tonight against a better group of horses that won’t be afraid to challenge and run and some size as well.
The Scarlet Knights have downed three top 10 programs at home under head coach Mike Rice, but the program has never defeated a top 10 team at an away site. RU is 2-15 all-time in BIG EAST openers and will be looking to earn its first ever victory on the road to begin BIG EAST play. The Scarlet Knights last started the conference campaign with a victory in 2005-06, courtesy of an 82-78 win over Seton Hall at the RAC.
Rice will make his return to the bench at Syracuse on Wednesday night after serving a three-game suspension
Coach Boeheim is going for history yet again as a win would be number 903 and give him sole possession of 2nd place on the all time wins list.
Freshman and sophomores are dominating the talk of the team, but one guy that seems to be missing out on all of that press may just end up becoming one of the better players SU has seen. Jerami Grant. This kid just plays so smooth, has court sense, and glides across the court. He also has some major ups. Keep an eye on this kid.
Syracuse 87 – RU 68