Teams: Syracuse Orange (6-1) vs. Connecticut Huskies (6-2)
Day & Time: Tuesday, December 5, 2017, 9 p.m. ET
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y.
Line: Syracuse, -5
Radio: Syracuse IMG Network, WAER 88.3, Sirius 93/XM 193
UConn blog: The UConn Blog (obviously)
Rivalry: 55-38, Syracuse leads
Current Streak: 1, UConn (boooooo)
First Meeting: Hugh Greer brought the
confusingly constipated dogs Huskies to Syracuse in 1956, and proceeded to get hammered by the Orangemen, 102-82. Vinnie Cohen scored 25 points, and Gary Clark chipped in 22 of his own. Jim Boeheim and Jim Calhoun likely both grumbled about this result somewhere else.
Last Meeting: In a game that was uglier than sin, UConn beat Syracuse 52-50 at MSG last year. A year ago tomorrow, the teams met at MSG in the “Tire Pros Classic” and everyone was so disturbed by what transpired that the Tire Pros themselves cancelled it from happening again. The Orange led 23-21 at half, then the Huskies made enough shots to grab the win late. UConn shot 31 percent from the field, which was somehow better than what SU did. Ugh.
Head Coaches: SU: Jim Boeheim (42nd year, 1,010-358); UConn: Kevin Ollie (6th year, 119-63)
Coach Bio: The L.A. product played for UConn in the 1990s, then hopped around the CBA and NBA from 1995 all the way through 2010. He headed back to his alma mater right after retiring, serving as an assistant under Jim Calhoun from 2010-12, before taking over the program. His Huskies were ineligible for the postseason in year one, then won a(nother) lucky NCAA title for UConn in 2014 with Jim Calhoun’s players. Since then, they’ve missed the NCAAs in two of the last three years. That should sound familiar, except we made a Final Four and didn’t finish with a losing record at any point. Speaking of...
Last Year: Connecticut was injured, and garbage from start to finish. They lost to both Wagner and Northeastern early, and also barely squeaked by LMU out here in a game I really wish I’d seen in-person. UConn dropped quite a few non-conference games. The Huskies were also just 9-9 in league play, but did make it to the AAC semifinals. Still, that doomed them to a 16-17 overall record.
Last Game: UConn needed overtime to beat Monmouth, 84-81. It was the second straight game that a supposedly inferior opponent took the Huskies to the wire (Columbia did the same last week as well). Still, Jalen Adams scored 31 points and Christian Vital hit 11 free throws. They shot reasonably well (42.4 percent), though it was barely enough to keep up with Monmouth hitting over 51 percent of their respective shots.
"Fear Me, I've Killed Hundreds of Timelords": It’s obviously Jalen Adams. On the year, the junior guard is averaging 19.4 points, with 3.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game. A couple bright spots, though: He’s a bad free throw shooter and isn’t much of a three-point threat, either (but he can hit some). Adams is the team’s most accurate starter, however, at 45.5 percent from the floor.
There’s really only one outside shooter on this team, and it’s Terry Larrier. He’s hit 15-of-36 (41.7 percent) from three, which is a hair better than what Adams has done.
If Syracuse Wins: I think we’d all have signed up for a 2-1 record during this Maryland-Kansas-UConn stretch, no? A win over the Huskies is always extra entertaining, and we’ll certainly enjoy the resulting schadenfreude.
If Syracuse Loses: Every mid-major gets lucky occasionally, and this would be UConn’s turn, I guess (if the Oregon upset earlier this year wasn’t). Any loss is bad, but losing to the Huskies is its own extra brand of mental punishment. I’m here for @NoEscalators 364 days a year. Tuesday is the day I am not, especially if we lose.
Fun Fact No. 1: UConn believes Storrs is the “sixth borough” of the city of New York. This is laughable since a) there is no such thing and b) Storrs is two and a half hours from NYC.
Fun Fact No. 2: This is a real rivalry in that there’s actually some give and take and most games are close (and also, we hate each other). Nine out of the last 10 games between these teams have been decided by 10 or fewer points, and four out of the last five were single-possession games. SU has won seven of those contests, however.
While the all-time series is very much tilted toward the Orange, the series was split down the middle with Boeheim and Calhoun in charge. They won 27 apiece in 54 matchups.
(also, here’s your requisite 6 Overtime reference, if the video above wasn’t enough)