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Syracuse On A Colonial Conquest Against Robert Morris

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Robert Morris was a weird-looking dude. Is it me or is he head oblong?  We trusted the finances of the American Revolution to this guy?  Never, never, never trust an oblong-headed man.  Never!  First rule of business. (Oh and he also owned a slave-importing that's nice).

1-0 Syracuse will look to win #801 for Jim Boeheim tonight when they host the University named in Morris' honor at 7pm.  The big question of course is...will Andy Rautins play?

The starting guard went down with an ankle injury against Albany and was seen at practice yesterday wearing the dreaded boot.

"I want to play. We'll just see how it feels. It's a day to day thing. ... I know the guys will take care of business, but I really like being out there for them. We'll see how it feels tomorrow."

SU coach Jim Boeheim, when asked whether we should assume Rautins would not play Wednesday, given that he did not practice on Tuesday, said, "I wouldn't assume that."

Rautins also admitted to being extremely tired, losing sleep over having to keep the ankle elevated all night.  If I were a betting man, I'd say that Rautins will probably sit this one out.  If all goes as planned, he won't be terribly missed.

The Colonials don't have a player on their roster over 6'8" while the Orange frontcourt's Wes Johnson is the smallest of the trio at 6'7".  The size advantage should make things easy for Onuaku and Rick Jackson to take over down low.   The Orange will be seeing a familiar defense staring back at them however...Robert Morris plays the zone.

"Playing against a zone is just about finding the gaps," SU forward Rick Jackson said. "A lot of teams play zone because they can double you easier. Man (defense) is easier (to score on), because it’s one-on-one. But zone is a good look for us because we play zone and we should be able to handle a zone."

Of course, the Orange are actually pretty good at this zone thing too.  Their combination of a swarming defense and a run-and-gun offense worked against Albany and should do the same tonight.

Players knew the key to rebounding from their embarrassing preseason loss to Le Moyne was defense - forcing turnovers that fuel the transition offense. Against Albany, the formula snowballed into a string of fast-break slams. Syracuse avoided any possible hangover from losing to their little brother down Euclid Avenue.

In all, the Orange had 21 steals and scored 31 points off Albany's 32 turnovers. In other words: three hours worth of waving arms, smothering traps and easy fastbreak finishes. To combat the loss of its three leading scorers, the Orange is running.

The back-ups should continue to see a lot of action for the Orange.  In particular, this could be a great opportunity for Kris Joseph to step up and make himself known:

Joseph performed very well in 27 minutes off the bench [against Albany], showing off good range and collecting five rebounds. With Onuaku’s health still a question mark, if Joseph can step in, it’ll be even harder to sleep on the SU bigs. Some fans have already started comparing to Kris Joseph with Rick Jackson as someone who made the sophomore leap, and I can definitely see the similarities, aside from the involvement of a transition into a starting role (though Joseph ended up playing starter’s minutes).

SU is 2-0 all-time against the Colonials including a 2008 87-81 NIT win. For more info on Robert Morris, check out Colonials Corner in preparation for tonight's throwdown.