TJO: Syracuse came into the season with high expectations and a top 15 preseason ranking. They returned their starting 5 from last year’s Sweet 16 run, including Tyus Battle, who many figured would be heading to the NBA. While many figured that Syracuse would continue their winning ways from the NCAA Tournament, the early part of the season has proved to be daunting for SU because they missed their senior starting point guard, Frank Howard, for the first four games of the season. That resulted in two humiliating losses in the 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden to old Big East rival UConn and to Oregon, headlined by a monster performance from Bol Bol. That quickly dropped Syracuse from the top 25 and sent Orange Nation into a small panic. But Howard returned to the starting lineup against Colgate, and Syracuse immediately started to look better on offense. That continued into the Orange’s 72-62 upset win over No. 16 Ohio State on the road in the Big 10/ACC Challenge on Wednesday.
It’s time for Ivy Hoops Online’s annual exchange with The Juice Online since another edition of Cornell-Syracuse is upon us. Saturday will bring another family affair between the Big Red and the host Orange, with Cornell sophomore forward Jimmy Boeheim squaring off against not only his father, longtime Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, but brother and Orange freshman guard Buddy Boeheim. Syracuse is coming off a Wednesday win at Ohio State, which was No. 1 in the first NCAA NET college basketball rankings. Cornell is coming off a Wednesday overtime win at Lafayette.
Ivy Hoops Online: Tell us about The Juice.
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 storylines with Syracuse coming into this season?
IHO: Who are Syracuse’s standout players?
TJO: As mentioned above, Battle is Syracuse’s top gun, and is averaging 17.6 points per game. It’s down from his 19.2 ppg last year, but he’s also shooting 46.8 percent from the field as opposed to 39.9 percent last year. Another player that figures to jump to the NBA after the season is sophomore Oshae Brissett. Brissett is averaging nearly the same statistics (14.8 ppg, 8.2 rpg) as his freshman season (14.9, 8.8). He’s really struggled shooting the ball this season (just 18.2 percent from 3-point land), and needs to remember that he is first and foremost a slasher and not a stand-still jump shooter. Newcomer Elijah Hughes (14.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg) plays the other wing position, and is perhaps the Orange’s best shooter in the rotation. The East Carolina transfer can score in a variety of different ways, and SU is still figuring out how to most effectively balance Hughes, Brissett, Howard and Battle’s touches.
IHO: What are your predictions for the game?
TJO: Matt Morgan has been on a tear for the Big Red to start the season, and I see him having some early success by shooting over the Orange 2-3 zone. But after Jim Boeheim digs into his team midway through the first half, they mostly shut him down the rest of the way as the Orange start to widen their lead. While freshman Buddy Boeheim has fallen out of the rotation, a healthy second half lead for SU allows Buddy to guard his older brother, Jimmy (who will score 15 points against his father), with proud mother Julie looking on in a 78-57 win for Syracuse.
IHO: Bonus question: Over/under on how many times ACC Network Extra broadcast mentions that Jim Boeheim is coaching Buddy Boeheim, his son, and against Jimmy Boeheim, his other son?
TJO: Easily above 15 times. This is Boeheim Bowl 2 times 2. Epic mentions are on the way.
Make sure to check out the Cornell scouting report for this matchup at The Juice Online.