Syracuse vs. CSULA: 'This Is Supposed To Be An Exhibition!'

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10: Fab Melo #51 of the Syracuse Orange drives to the basket against the St. John's Red Storm during the quarterfinals of the 2011 Big East Men's Basketball Tournament presented by American Eagle Outfitters at Madison Square Garden on March 10, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Apollo Creed's trainer Duke sets the tone for tonight's exhibition game between the Syracuse Orange and the Cal-State Los Angeles Whatevers (Golden Eagles, it turns out).

In 2009, Syracuse topped the Eagles 97-54 and James Southerland announced himself to the Orange world. Perhaps he's been waiting to do it again.

Former Syracuse legend Stevie Thompson brings his Division II squad into the Dome once again. In case you are a Syracuse neophyte, Thompson was a member of the Orange between 1986-1990 and all he did was end up the seventh all-time leading scorer in school history and play in more games than any Orangeman ever. He was voted to Syracuse’s All-Century Team to boot.

Some might wonder why, besides the homecoming, Thompson would put his players up against such an opponent. For him, it's about exposure and opportunity.

"I think it’s always good exposure for our program,’’ Thompson said. "We get to play at the highest level of the college game. It gives me an opportunity to show the guys who think they’re hot-shot guys; well, those are hot-shot guys.’’

If there is any cause for concern, it's the extreme height difference between the two teams:

Cal State-Los Angeles has no player taller than 6 feet 9 inches. Only two Golden Eagles players are taller than 6 feet 6 inches.

For a Syracuse team with seven players taller than 6 feet 6 inches and two taller than 6 feet 9 inches, the size mismatch creates a challenge. For both teams.

This game isn't about match-ups and it's not about accomplishments. It's about putting the players on the floor in an organized game for the first time and seeing what happens, who can start to put it all together and who might be reayd to exceed expectations.

Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. TWCS and SNY will carry the game so if you or your local bar carry those channels, you can watch. No word on an online outlet for the game but I'll keep you posted.

What are you hoping to see most tonight?

For more on the 2011-2012 Syracuse Orange basketball team, including player profiles, statistical analysis and articles on the upcoming year featuring the folks in this podcast, make sure you check out Orange Tip-Off.

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