Yesterday Jim Boeheim's 40th Syracuse Orange team got off to an auspicious start in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament beating Mark Price's Charlotte 49ers, 83-70. Syracuse's 83 points marked a season high as four orange players scored in double-figures. Now, Syracuse fans will get the matchup they've so desired as the Orange (4-0) tip off against old Big East rival, Connecticut (4-0) at 3:30 p.m.
The Huskies are led by a troika of transfers and sophomore superstar Daniel Hamilton. Hamilton can do it all while Sterling Gibbs, Rodney Purvis and Shonn Miller have paved the way for UConn in the scoring column thus far into the season.
Keys to the Game
The Huskies only allow 60 points per contest. Syracuse will have to have pivotal performances from its two seniors Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney. If yesterday was any sort of harbinger, Cooney and Gbinije will take on a more domineering role in important games. Miller -- who Syracuse fans might remember from playing at Cornell -- is UConn's best defender. It will be interesting if Kevin Ollie elects to put his best defender on Gbinije when he brings the ball up.
The Huskies are also shooting 50.8 percent from the floor, good for 21st in the nation. Syracuse's zone was the most active it has been all season against Charlotte, particularly in the first half. The zone will be tested by a disciplined UConn backcourt -- Gibbs and Purvis don't turn the ball over and the Huskies only average nine turnovers per game. Syracuse will have to force the issue defensively.
Lastly, rebounding will be the most important factor in this game. Syracuse pulled down 44 (#BRAND) rebounds in yesterday's win over Charlotte, which is roughly UConn's average (38.8). Syracuse will have to keep Hamilton, Miller and Amida Brimah off the boards. Kentan Facey also rebounds well off the bench for UConn in limited action.
It didn't take No Escalators long to start throwing shade.
.@NunesMagician If you guys win tomorrow are you planning on selling pieces of the net?— We take the stairs (@NoEscalators) November 26, 2015
It doesn't end there.
Current mood pic.twitter.com/zMrZmvYnS6— TheUConnBlog (@TheUConnBlog) November 26, 2015
Let the Twitter war ensue.
The Syracuse vs. UConn rivalry was at its peak in the mid to late 2000's. Today's matchup was left to chance but it's a rivalry that's worthy of renewal. There's simply too much history between the two teams for this rivalry to go by the wayside. Syracuse vs. UConn is good for both Syracuse and Connecticut and it's certainly good for college basketball.
How quickly we forget.