Day & Time: Friday, November 10, 2017, 7 p.m. ET
Location: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
Line: N/A (I’d put it at 20.5, I guess, if asked)
TV/Streaming: ACC Network Extra — hooray, stream lag!
Radio: Syracuse IMG Network, WAER 88.3, Sirius 93/XM 193
Cornell blog: Mid-Major Madness
Rivalry: 91-31, Syracuse leads this one by a lot
Current Streak: 37, Orange
First Meeting: Syracuse won a real barnburner in 1901, 18-15. SU probably just threw rocks at a peach basket for an hour or so while the Big Red watched. Jim Boeheim’s grandfather heard about the game afterward, and proclaimed that you can guard rocks by standing in a zone.
Last Meeting: Last year, the Orange were 7-5 and desperately in need of a win. They’d get it in the form of an 80-56 victory in the Dome where SU was up 14 at the half and never looked back. Tyler Lydon had 20 points and Taurean Thompson chipped in 18. Neither of those players are on this year’s team, which is where the problems start.
Head Coaches: SU: Jim Boehim (42nd year, 1,004-357); Brian Earl, Cornell: (2nd year, 8-21)
Coach Bio: Following the weird tradition of keeping things in-house in the Ivy League, Earl was an assistant at Princeton for a decade before heading up to Cornell to resurrect the Big Red. In year one, they weren’t exactly “back” since they won just eight games. That was actually a step back from the last couple years of Bill Courtney, when Cornell won 13 games in 2014-15 and 10 in 2015-16.
Last Year: Cornell came out of the gate poorly, and never really turned it around. They did win four games in Ivy League play, however, so that’s a plus. Matt Morgan also led the team in scoring with 18.1 points per game — a feat considering he was the focus of every defense the Big Red went up against.
Last Game: Cornell finished off the season with a 92-78 road win at Brown. The victory kept them from finishing in sole possession of last place in the Ivy — instead pulling them into a three-way tie for sixth. Robert Hatter scored 16 points in his final game, while Morgan and Stone Gettings (great name) each scored 20 or more. The Big Red also hit over 45 percent from three, which helped a great deal.
"Fear Me, I've Killed Hundreds of Timelords": Who else but Morgan? The now-junior shooting guard declared for the NBA Draft at one time, but withdrew in May. He’s a pretty impressive shooter, hitting about 46 percent from the floor and can also crash the boards. Having an Ivy player that even sniffs the NBA Draft is pretty good. Given current skill level on the floor, these teams may have the same number of draft prospects (once apiece).
If Syracuse Wins: They did exactly what they were supposed to do. There’s also a caveat with the hoops team in these early games -- how much did you actually win BY? Given Syracuse’s early struggles in both exhibition games and the questions around a very inexperienced team, this will be critical. Anything less than a 15-point victory is going to create some major concerns for the less assured among us.
If Syracuse Loses: There is no word to describe what a loss to Cornell would mean for this program, its fans and the greater perception nationally. Lucky us, the 2018 prospects already signed their NLIs. But falling in this one would be about as damning as it gets and launch us into a hellstorm of a season I would honestly want no part of.
Fun Fact No. 1: This preview would be incomplete without mentioning the fact that both sidelines will feature a Boeheim on Friday night. Jimmy Boeheim is a freshman at Cornell, and will inevitably see the court to much fanfare and likely a hug (or perhaps just a handshake) with Dad. Let’s hope he’s not entering the game in the closing seconds of a monumental upset.
Fun Fact No. 2: Back before “Syracuse University” was an official thing, Genesee College (its predecessor) and Cornell used to get into it over land grant funds and building locations. Eventually that, other space issues and church disputes led to the school leaving Lima, N.Y. and heading up to Syracuse.