Syracuse (7-3) takes on Cornell (5-4) today at noon as the Orange return home to the Carrier Dome after a dreaded performance against former Big East foe St. John's last weekend. Cornell doesn't figure to be much of a threat -- Syracuse is currently a 19 point favorite over the Big Red. Be sure to check our final score predictions and to vote for who you think will win the game.
Cornell is coming off a 13-17 season and the team lost its best player -- Shonn Miller -- to Ivy League graduate student ineligibility. Miller, who averaged 16.8 points and 8.5 rebounds a season ago for Cornell, has transferred to UConn for his final season of eligibility. Miller only had 5 points and 4 rebounds in UConn's loss to Syracuse in the Battle 4 Atlantis.
The good news for the Big Red is that their second best player from a season ago has returned and is off to an auspicious start. Robert Hatter is averaging 19.6 points, 4.7 assists and 3.3 rebounds per contest all while shooting 46.8 percent from the floor and 43.9 percent from range.
Keys to the Game
Syracuse won't be able to shut Hatter down but it's important to limit him offensively. It will be important to keep the ball out of his hands and the Orange must make him give up the ball when it is in his hands.
Cornell doesn't play a lick of defense so it's important for Syracuse to capitalize on one of its strengths (or what could be a weakness) in shooting the ball. A good shooting night (day) could be a huge morale boost for a Syracuse team in need of some confidence.
Mike Hopkins has drilled defense into his team all week after last Sunday's poor performance. Expect Syracuse to get after it on the defensive end. DJ Khaled would like to advise Cornell, "Major key, don't fall for the trap in the 2-3 zone."
Should Syracuse do those three things well the Orange should win the game rather easily. Rebounding will also be emphasized but Cornell is an even worse rebounding team than Syracuse. The game is scheduled to tip at noon and will be aired on ESPN3. In the interim, be sure to enjoy this 1987 boxing match between Syracuse and Cornell that escalated into a WWE battle royale.