The Richmond Spiders (or, if you were a Syracuse fan in 1991, The Motherf***ing Richmond Spiders) come to town tonight for the 2nd game in the CBE Classic. The good news for the Orange is that, win or lose, they move on to the next round. The bad news is, well, if they lose they still lose.
The Orange are coming off a shellacking of Le Moyne that really proved nothing other than that SU is a team consisting of Division 1-A athletes who can defeat a team consisting of Division 2 athletes. Good. Grand. Great.
The Spiders are actually on our level so this is technically the real start to the season. Donna Ditota previews our foe:
The Richmond team that visits the Dome is coming off an 81-57 mauling of Division III Randolph-Macon last Saturday. The team returns several key ingredients from last year's 16-15 campaign, though it lost its leading scorer, 6-foot-9 center Dan Geriot, to summer knee surgery.
And the Spiders can shoot. Richmond shot 39 percent from 3-point range against Randolph-Macon. Last season, the Spiders made 35 percent of their 3-point shots. Their best marksman, David Gonzalvez, shot 42 percent from beyond the arc and is back this season. And in reigning Atlantic 10 rookie of the year Kevin Anderson, Richmond owns a versatile young player who can score inside and out.
No sir, I don't like it. If Syracuse basketball has a Kryptonite, other than goofy big white guys, it's teams that excel at three-point shooting. Once the threes start raining down, it almost always spells doom for the Orange.
But the Spiders also bring a Princeton-style backdoor cut set that puts the fear of God into major conference teams. What the hell are we to do??? If you're Jim Boeheim, you mix things up:
Boeheim has said he will employ both man-to-man and zone defenses, though the Orange has gone man almost exclusively before tonight, if only to emphasize the importance of individual defensive skills.
TNIAAM gatekeeper Jameson Fleming also has a preview of tonight's contest up over on Bleacher Report. He breaks down the history of this series as well as the Richmond offense which has quite a bit of weapons on the floor but little behind it:
After Richmond's core of players, the Spiders don't have a lot of depth or talent. On its home court, in front of a group of fans ready to see SU square off against a Division I team, the Orange should be able to pull away and knock off the Spiders.
The game will be televised on ESPN at 6pm EST as part of their 24 assault on college basketball fans nationwide. Be there.
While we're discussing Orange Hoops, it is with great shame that I realize I'm only now getting around to letting you know about updates over at, um, OrangeHoops. The #1 source for Syracuse basketball stats and history, Ray doesn't update as often as other SU blogs but when he does it's always something interesting. Like this post, where he runs down all of the major milestone SU players are in line to pass this season.
Also, if you see Jim Boeheim today make sure you wish him a Happy Birthday! The Grand Inquisitor of SU Hoops turns 64 today. And he doesn't look a day over 59. I'd had known this sooner if Jim had a Facebook page but since he hasn't mastered the fine art of texting yet, something tells me a Facebook page is still a ways away.