Cornell will play its first game in two weeks when it visits Syracuse Saturday afternoon at the Carrier Dome. To get us prepped for the game, we sat down with our friend Wes Cheng over at The Juice Online to get an Orange scouting report for the upcoming game. Also check out IHO’s Cornell scouting report for this matchup at The Juice Online.
Ivy Hoops Online: Tell us about The Juice Online.
The Juice Online: The Juice (then called The Big Orange) was founded in 1992, one of approximately 50 independent publications devoted to the coverage of its school’s athletics programs. In 2002, it became a full-color, glossy magazine which was owned by Fox Sports. The print product ceased publication in June of 2010 and was relaunched as The Juice Online in December of 2010. In February 2012, The Juice Online partnered with SportsNet New York, the official television home of the New York Mets and New York Jets. As part of SNY.tv’s Blog Network, The Juice Online supplements SNY’s coverage of more than 125 college football and basketball games, as well as other college sports programming.
IHO: What are the major story lines with Syracuse?
TJO: The biggest storyline centers around Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim. He’s currently serving a nine-game suspension as a result of an NCAA investigation that lasted the better part of a decade and resulted in forfeited wins, a self-imposed NCAA Tournament ban last season, probation, and the loss of scholarships. Boeheim began serving the suspension for SU’s game against Georgetown, and will not return until early January. In the meantime, heir apparent Mike Hopkins has taken over, and SU has lost three of four games. In its most recent loss to St. John’s, Syracuse shot just 5-for-24 from downtown. With Rakeem Christmas now in the NBA, the Orange lack a true inside scoring presence and have relied on the 3-ball, which has led to maddeningly inconsistent performances. Syracuse defeated UConn and Texas A&M in winning the Battle 4 Atlantis, but has also lost to Georgetown, Wisconsin and St. John’s because of poor shooting.
IHO: Who are the stars on Syracuse?
TJO: The alpha dog on Syracuse has been point guard Michael Gbinije. The Duke transfer, now in his fifth season, has been SU’s most consistent player, averaging 19.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. He is an excellent outside shooter (50.7 percent from downtown) and slasher, and at 6’7″ is a perfect fit at the top of the zone. Gbinije is joined in the backcourt by fellow fifth-year senior Trevor Cooney, who has struggled in his final season. While he is second on the team with 14.0 points per game, he’s shooting a hair over 31 percent from beyond the arc. Another player to keep an eye out for is freshman wing/center Tyler Lydon. He’s shown the ability to protect the rim (7.4 rebounds and a team-high 2.1 blocks per game) and can score from anywhere on the floor. But he’s been prone to the typical freshman inconsistencies. NBA scouts are already projecting him as a first round draft pick in the 2017 draft.
IHO: Predictions for the game.
TJO: How did the Red Storm defeat Syracuse? Torrid outside shooting. St. John’s shot 12 for 24 from downtown, knocking down some shots seemingly from the parking lot. If Cornell wants to pull off the upset, it will need Robert Hatter and Matt Morgan to be on top of their respective outside shooting games. Syracuse has also struggled in the rebounding department, so if David Onuorah can muscle his way inside and create extra scoring opportunities, that will give Cornell an even greater shot. All that said, I expect Syracuse to have a significantly better shooting afternoon within the friendly confines of the Carrier Dome, and for SU to mostly cruise in the second half. Syracuse 73, Cornell 59.