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Syracuse vs. Holy Cross: Previewing the Crusaders

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Holy Cross made the NCAA Tournament a season ago, but do they stand a chance against Syracuse?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Oregon vs Holy Cross James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The Holy Cross Crusaders (0-1) are set to take on the Syracuse Orange (1-0) tonight at 7 p.m. So what does Bill Carmody bring back from his NCAA Tournament team a season ago?

After winning the Patriot League Tournament last season, Holy Cross earned its first NCAA Tournament bid since 1953. Not bad for a first-year head coach’s program. This season the Crusaders bring back five of its top six scorers.

Holy Cross is led by seniors Robert Champion and Malachi Alexander. Last season, Champion and Alexander combined for 23.8 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.9 steals per contest. The guard/forward combo will be on the top of Syracuse’s scouting report as the Orange attempt to keep them out of the middle and limit them from outside.

The last time these two teams played Syracuse won 72-48 on November 28, 2014. The two then-sophomores Alexander and Champion combined for 4 points, 3 rebounds and an assist while Rakeem Christmas posted 25 points and 8 rebounds. Following behind Christmas were Chris McCullough and Kaleb Joseph with 14 points each.

You can follow the Holy Cross men’s basketball twitter page @HCrossMBB. Dollars to donuts Jim Boeheim gives Holy Cross credit for being a tournament team in the post-game presser.

Fun fact: The game will be homecoming of sorts for freshman Jack Stevens, who hails from nearby Ithaca, NY.