First of all, a hearty, well-timed welcome to the newest SbN blog, Gonzo Ball, covering all-things Seton Hall. Well-timed because the 12-0 Orange will take on 9-2 Seton Hall tonight in lovely Newark:
Syracuse, which is playing its first true road game of the season tonight, is one of the few undefeated teams left at the Division I level, jumping out to a 12-0 start -- the best for the team since 1999-2000, and the sixth time it has gone 12-0 to open a campaign in Jim Boeheim's 34 years at the helm. The Orange whipped Oakland on December 22nd, 92-60, to give Boeheim his 811th career victory. He is third among all active coaches in wins, and seventh on the all- time list.
So right off the bat, how bout two notes to scare the bejesus out of you?
No. 1, the last time the Orange made it this far into a season undefeated (2000), it was the Seton Hall Pirates who ended their glorious run.
No. 2, Jeremy Hazell, who is averaging 21.9 points and 17.5 field-goal attempts per game. Hazell is coming off a 41-point performance against No. 6 West Virginia in which he shot 14 of 33, including 4 of 19 from 3-point range. Just imagine if he's actually hitting those shots. Hazell and teammate Jamel Jackson, rank first and second in the league in 3-pointers made.
Scared yet? Good. The Orange will need to keep the emotions running on high to stay in front on this one. Especially when there might be some residual bad blood in the air as well. The last time these two teams met, back in the Big East Tournament, Arinze Onuaku picked up a technical after a scuffle between he and John Garcia (AO was kindof a dick about it...) Both players will be back on the court tonight. That melee was followed by another one shortly thereafter involving (who else) Devo and Eugene Harvey, who had intentionally-bumped a defenseless KO. Are there lingering issues from that night? We'll find out.
The Orange also dropped one-hundy on the Hall last season in a 100-73 win, one in which Jeremy Hazell shot 2-14 from beyond the arc.
The Hall has looked fairly solid all season. They beat Cornell by 10, the same Cornell that SU beat by 15. Their only two losses came at the hands of ranked squads, Temple and West Virginia (in OT). They should pose some problems for the Orange if they can hit their shots and control the paint...and Boeheim knows it.
"They’ve got a great team,’’ Boeheim said. "They’ve got a lot of guys. Hazell’s a great scorer; a great shooter. (Pope) is a player they didn’t have last year. They have two good point guards. They have guys that have transferred in that are very good. They’re one of the deepest teams in the league. I think they’re really good. They’re probably as good as anybody in the league.’’
It's Syracuse's first "true" road game. Nevermind the fact that Newark is only about 20 minutes farther away from Syracuse than New York City. But...whatever. SU faithful should be out in full force amongst the sold-out crowd (Though a limited number of $10 tickets will be today at the Prudential Center Box Office...shhhh). Mike Waters has the scouting report and tale of the tape for any final preparation.