Behind Enemy Lines: Q&A with The Juice Online

It’s time for Ivy Hoops Online’s annual exchange with Wes Cheng of The Juice Online since another edition of Cornell-Syracuse is upon us. Wednesday will bring the third annual Boeheim Bowl, with Cornell junior forward Jimmy Boeheim squaring off against not only his father, longtime Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, but brother and Orange sophomore guard Buddy Boeheim. Syracuse is coming off an 89-67 win over Seattle, while Cornell is coming off a 75-54 loss at DePaul.
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?

TJO: Syracuse is in a rebuilding season after last year’s first-round NCAA exit against Baylor. The Orange lost four starters, including two early entrants into the NBA Draft (sophomore forward Oshae Brissett, now a member of the Toronto Raptors G League team along with fellow former Syracuse standout Tyler Ennis and Cornell’s Matt Morgan, and junior guard Tyus Battle, playing an Exhibit 10 contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves) and two who exhausted their eligibility (guard Frank Howard and center Paschal Chukwu).

The lone returning starter from last year’s team, Elijah Hughes, is now joined by a group of talented, but unproven, underclassmen. That showed in SU’s first game, an embarrassing 48-34 loss to defending national champion Virginia. Two games after that, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim made a lineup change, benching sophomore point guard Jalen Carey in favor of freshman Joe Girard III, New York State’s all-time leading scorer in high school. The results were palpable, with the Orange easily dispatching Seattle 89-67 in the opening round of the NIT season tipoff. It was by far SU’s best performance of the early season, with the Orange shooting a torrid 56.9% from the field and 9-for-23 from downtown. The competition was inferior, but it was clear that Syracuse’s offense moved far better with Girard in charge. Syracuse is a bubble team this season, and its early nonconference schedule, which features four games against power-six teams, may determine whether or not they’re dancing come March.
IHO: Who are Syracuse’s standout players?
TJO: Hughes is Syracuse’s leading scorer so far at 14.3 ppg, and he’s also dishing out a team best 4.3 assists per game. With Battle and Brissett as the team’s top scorers last year, Hughes was relegated to being mostly a stand-still three-point shooter. That hasn’t been the case this season, with Hughes showing that he is a capable three-level scorer. I mentioned Girard above — he scored a team-high 24 points in his first collegiate start, and there’s plenty of hype around him being from nearby Glen Falls. He was rated three stars and just outside the top 200 in 247’s rankings for the 2019 class, but I think he’ll be in for an extremely productive career at Syracuse. His backcourt mate Buddy Boeheim doesn’t need any introduction to Syracuse or Cornell fans, and he’s second on the team in scoring at 11.3 ppg. One other guy worth mentioning is junior forward Marek Dolezaj. He’s the Swiss army knife of the team, and consistently stuffs the stat sheet. To date, he’s averaging 10 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game.
IHO: Predictions for the game.
TJO: I like the Big Red’s “Big 3” of Jimmy Boeheim, Terrance McBride and Josh Warren, and I can see them finding pockets in the 2-3 zone and exploiting them early on to keep Cornell close in the first half much like they did in their most recent game against DePaul. But with Syracuse’s offense starting to emerge and the sheer size and length of the zone on the inside, I see SU establishing a healthy lead heading into halftime, which ultimately results in an 82-59 win for the Orange. Jimmy Boeheim goes off for 18 points with his father and mother Juli looking on, and younger brother Buddy hits four three-pointers as part of a 14-point night.
5. 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?
25 times. This is Boeheim Bowl III, so I’m going with three times the epic mentions.

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