One of the grand pleasures of growing up a Notre Dame football fan in the late 80's and early 90's was listening to Lou Holtz, after Notre Dame beat a high-quality opponent, talking openly about how much he feared the 1-7 Navy team the Irish would be playing next week. Holtz was the king of muting expectations against teams that fans would assume as easy victories. In Lou Holtz' world, every team was the toughest opponent in the world
"I think the one last thing I will say is that I watched a little bit of Marshall," Boeheim told reporters. "I usually don't look ahead but I thought Marshall might be better than anybody we've played, so I think that will be a difficult thing for our players now to turn around this thing by Tuesday and get ready."
That said, Marshall is no slouch. The Thundering Herd enters Tuesday’s match-up with a 5-1 record this season, including a road win at Big East foe Cincinnati. Tom Herrion is in his second year in charge of the Herd, who finished with a 22-12 record last season.
Marshall has a knack for beating ranked teams. They knocked off two last year, No. 19 UCF and No. 21 West Virginia. They have never beaten a No. 3, however.
Donna Ditota says the key for the Orange will be make the most of Marshall's turnovers, of which they commit plenty.
In that game, too, Marshall committed 14 turnovers (vs. 10 assists). The Thundering Herd has struggled this season to take care of the basketball. They have 75 assists this season, compared to 95 turnovers. (For the record, SU has 140 assists and 90 turnovers.)
"The thing with Brandon is that he's done that in the past, he's come in last year, get nothing and then get 15 in the second half," SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. "I still don't think he realizes how good he is. I just don't think he realizes. I don't think anybody can guard him, and I think he's a tremendous player."
Marshall leads the all-time series 1-0. The Herd defeated the Orange 46-44 on Dec. 30, 1947 in the Los
Angeles Invitational. However, it should be noted that "Bullet" Billy Gabor was injured for that one, so let's only consider it half a win.
Fun(ish) Fact: Marshall might be using this game to get a little revenge on us. When Leo Rautins decided to transfer from Minnesota, he initially chose Marshall. He ended up at Syracuse instead when then-head coach Stu Aberdeen died of a heart attack. What is it with Marshall sports and death stories?