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Grizzlies Down, Gators Up

Lost in the shuffle on this weekend's events was Friday's 86-66 dominating win by SU's basketball team over Oakland.  The Grizz came in with the aura of a giant killer but left the Dome having been completely dismantled. 

Jameson covered the game over at the Bleacher Report and noted that, amongst other things, it was the Orange's D that stood out:

The Orange's defensive efficiency for the first half was an outstanding 66.7 (28 points allowed in 42 possessions). To put that in perspective, during the 2008 season, Syracuse's defensive efficiency was about 94. To play this well defensively against a team like Oakland that has several pretty adept scorers.

The attack was well-balanced and it seemed like every member of the Orange who participated made an impact.  While Jonny Flynn led the team with 18 points the big news was the emergence of freshman Kris Joseph:

Syracuse (3-0) didn't need a lot of spark in its 86-66 win over Oakland (1-2) at the Carrier Dome, but Joseph's occasional lifts came in handy. He chipped in with 13 points on six-of-six shooting from the floor, six rebounds and two steals in 19 minutes.

Donna Ditota adds that the Orange showed some "delightful effort" and Axeman came through with the solid-as-always post-game breakdown.

But all of this was just a prelude to tonight's ha-yuge early-season game for the Orange.  All the Richmond's and Oakland's in the world can't give us any indication as to just how good this team is like the #18 Florida Gators can.

Billy Donovan knows a little something about one or two of the SU players.  He recruited Eric Devendorf out of high school.  Devendorf mentioned this week that it actually came down to SU and Florida as his final choices"

"Oh man, he's a great guy," Devendorf said. "I mean, I was that close to going to Florida. It was a competition between Florida and Syracuse. Billy Donovan is a good coach. I have a good relationship with him. But not on Monday, though."

Mike Waters has the full-on preview and breaks down what the Orange can expect:

They'll use a 2-2-1 press and a 1-2-1-1 press. In the 1-2-1-1, they put Chandler Parsons on the ball and you've got Werner and Calathes as the next two guys with good size. Then comes Hodge. He's the centerfielder. He's the trapper. Behind him you have Tyus as the shot-blocker. They'll force the ball back to the forward and go man-to-man and deny the ball to the guards. If the forward puts it on the floor, they'll trap him.

The game starts at 7:30 EST tonight from Kansas City.  By 10:00 EST, we should know if this SU team is ready to take the next step or is still working their way back up to the top tier.