Day & Time: Wednesday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m.
Location: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
Line: TBD. ESPN’s BPI gives Syracuse a 93 percent chance of winning.
TV/Streaming: ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN
Radio: Syracuse IMG Network, WAER 88.3, Sirius 93/XM 193
Colgate blog: Mid-Major Madness
Rivalry: 125-45, Syracuse leads
Current Streak: 52, ‘CUUUUUUUUSE
First Meeting: A coach-less Syracuse team hosted rival Colgate in 1902 and throttled them, 33-8. Earl Twombley, one of SU’s first of many athlete name hall-of-famers, led the way with 12 points. It was one of three wins on the season for Syracuse during a six-game slate. Still, this win was a sign of things to come in this “rivalry.”
Last Meeting: Syracuse wore down the Raiders, 72-58, in front of a sleepy home crowd last December. The Orange led 38-26 at the break, and as a team shot 52 percent from the field for the game in cruising to the win.
Sophomore Tyus Battle scored a game-high 24, making four of his nine three-point attempts, and Oshae Brissett added a then career-high 20 for the Orange. Point guard Frank Howard (remember him?) dished out six assists while scoring 18 points of his own.
Colgate was able to keep it mildly interesting, though, by knocking down 14 threes, six coming from guard Jack Ferguson, who tallied 20 points coming off the bench.
Head Coaches: SU: Jim Boeheim (43rd year, 1,029-373); Colgate: Matt Langel (8th year, 90-131)
Coach Bio: Langel was a sharpshooter for Penn in the late 1990s, helping the team to a 20-win season and the 1999 NCAA Tournament. Right after his playing days, the USBL wanted him, but he tried to make the Supersonics’ NBA roster instead. Langel hung around Europe for a bit, then went into coaching at his alma mater. He served as an assistant at Penn from 2004-06, then headed across town to Temple, where he stayed through 2011. Langel’s been at Colgate since. It’s a tenure that’s really yet to get going with zero winning seasons and just one finish near the top of the Patriot League in 2015.
Last Year: The Raiders turned a shaky December during the non-conference slate into a solid showing in Patriot League play. Colgate finished 19-14 overall and 12-6 in the league last season, which was good enough to secure second place. Quite a turnaround from the abysmal 2016-17 season that ended 10–22, 8–10.
Langel’s squad even made it to the Patriot League tourney title game, ultimately losing to top-seeded Bucknell, 83-54. Still, the January through early-March push was good enough to earn Colgate its first ever trip to the College Basketball Invitational; a rare post-season berth for the team from Hamilton, N.Y.
It was a short-lived thrill, though, as the Raiders came up short on the road in the first round, losing to San Francisco, 72-68,
Last Game: Big man Rapolas Ivanauskas tallied 17 points and pulled down 12 rebounds on Monday night as Colgate beat Binghamton, 76-68. The win gave the Raiders their first victory over the Bearcats since 2015 and matches their best start to a season since 2007-08.
Ivanauskas, a six-foot-ten forward, has been a force for Colgate so far. However, Jordan Burns scored 15, Will Rayman 13 and Ferguson (getting prepared for Syracuse) contributed 11 points for Colgate.
Despite beating Binghamton, the Raiders, who were tied with the Bearcats at the half, did only make eight of their 21 combined free-throw attempts.
”Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: It should be noted that in this very spot John (and Dan via the podcast) correctly picked Ferguson as the “random” guard who could go off for a career high against the Syracuse 2-3 zone last year. All Ferguson did was drill six threes and record that career-high 20 points. And it also should be pointed out right here that Ferguson isn’t playing much this season, so I would completely expect him to go off again against the Orange.
Furthermore, sophomore Jordan Burns, a six-foot guard, is leading the Gate in points (19 per game) and assists (5) and is fourth on the team in rebounding (3.3). He could give the suddenly suspect Syracuse defense some trouble, especially if he knocks down some early shots.
Also, just for good measure, Ivanauskas is a big man averaging a double-double so far this early season. At six-foot-ten, the Northwestern transer has some range, too, having hit multiple threes so far this year.
If Syracuse Wins: The end is not nigh. Beating the Raiders isn’t exactly a big deal, but losing to them would be a major issue. However, this is not just another innings-eating type of game. The Orange should send a message early and start to finally look like the team that had so much hype coming into the season.
If Syracuse Loses: The end is nigh. A loss would give Syracuse a losing record in its first five games. It also would be a loss to Colgate. At home.
Fun Fact No. 1: Syracuse has played four different college basketball teams over 100 times apiece. Colgate tops that list at 169 going in Saturday. The others? Cornell (123), Pittsburgh (111) and Penn State (105). That last one probably surprises most since we haven’t played the Nittany Lions on the hardwood since 1982.
Fun Fact No. 2: Did you know that Colgate University was first founded by 13 men who all each pitched in $13 and 13 prayers to start up the school? Also, Colgate’s address is 13 Oak Drive and the zip code begins with 13 (13346). In other words, 13 is supposedly the lucky number for the Raiders.
Which, given the fact that the men’s team is 0-2 lifetime in the NCAA Tournament, and that neighbor Syracuse has left it in the dust, maybe it’s time to find a new number.