Teams: Syracuse Orange (5-2, 0-0) vs. Northeastern Huskies (4-4, 0-0 Colonial Athletic Association)
Day & Time: Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 7:00 p.m. ET
Location: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
Line: Orange favored by 12 points over the Huskies and ESPN BPI gives Syracuse an 83.6-percent chance of winning.
TV/Streaming: ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN
Radio: Syracuse IMG Network, WAER 88.3, Sirius XM 381
Northeastern blog: Mid-Major Madness
Rivalry: 6-0, Syracuse
Current Streak: I’ll take a guess and, without Googling, say Syracuse has won six in a row in the series.
First Meeting: Playing at Manley Field House, the Orangemen blew by Northeastern, 94-75, back in January of 1975. With the victory, Syracuse upped its record to eight wins against three losses. Rudy Hackett led the way with 22 points and Jim Lee chipped in 20 of his own for Roy Danforth and SU. The Orangemen would end the season with a 23-9 record after bowing out to Kentucky in the NCAA tourney.
Last Meeting: In less than six minutes into the game, Northeastern held a 22-7 lead at the Carrier Dome back in November of 2006. The Huskies seemingly could not miss, especially from deep, in a wild 15-0 run. Funny enough, Northeastern did its damage against Syracuse’s (gasp) man-to-man defense, sinking nine of its first 11 shots from the field. However, after a time out and a flip back to the 2-3 zone, the Orange quickly regained control of the game, took a 41-33 edge into half, and then ultimately cruised to a 81-58 victory.
Eric Devendorf led Syracuse with 19 points and he also dished out a career-high eight assists. Terrence Roberts, playing the center position because Darryl Watkins was limited due to suffering two black eyes in the previous game, pulled down 13 boards as the Orange improved to 4-0 on the early season.
Head Coaches: SU: Jim Boeheim (43rd year, 1,031-373); Northeastern: Bill Coen (13th year, 201-186)
Coach Bio: After graduating from Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., Bill Coen returned to his alma mater as an assistant in 1987. A couple of years later, Coen jumped up to Division I, working as an assistant on Al Skinner’s staff at Rhode Island.
When Skinner left the Rams to take over Boston College in ‘97, Coen went with him. In total, Coen worked for Skinner, at two different stops, from 1989 through 2006. Coen left to take over Northeastern’s program in 2007 and he hasn’t gone anywhere since.
Through 12 full seasons as head man, Coen has taken the Huskies to a postseason tournament four times. The most successful run coming in the 2014-15 season. That’s when Northeastern 23–12, 12–6 in the Colonial and took home the conference tourney title. The NCAA selection committee rewarded Coen’s crew with a 14 seed and a match-up with three-seeded Notre Dame. A game that the Huskies played close, but didn’t have enough to stop the Irish, losing, 69-65.
Last Year: It looked as though Coen and the Huskies were going to make another appearance in the NCAA tourney in 2018. Northeastern (23-10, 14-4) took a share of the Colonial Athletic Conference regular season title and even advanced to the tourney title game.
The Huskies, though, ran out of gas against the College of Charleston, losing in overtime, 83-76. Following the heartbreaking defeat, Northeastern, which won 23 total games and lost just five games between Dec. 30 and March 6, somehow did not participate in any of the other postseason tourneys.
Last Game: Northeastern shut it down against former Syracuse assistant coach Rob Murphy’s Eastern Michigan Eagles. The Huskies overcame an early 14-point hole, and a three-point deficit at the half to run away from Eastern Michigan, 81-67. Jordan Roland, a Syracuse native, contributed a team-high 24 points, and Donnell Gresham 21 in the home win.
For the game, the Huskies made 56 percent of their shots from the field and, more impressively, canned 19 of their 25 free throws. Anthony Green pitched in with 13 points and nine boards and Tomas Murphy 10.
While the victory was a good one for Coen’s team, there were some red flags that could prove to be big issues come tonight. First up, the Huskies were out-rebounded by the Eagles, 23-20, and they made just eight of their 23 three-point attempts. Rebounding issues and an inability to make shots from distance is one bad combo to have, especially when going up against Syracuse.
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Hailing from Syracuse, Roland is a junior guard who is leading the Huskies in scoring (15.9 points per game) and in field goal shooting. Going further into the numbers, Roland is a hitting shots at a nearly 54-percent clip, just below 51-percent from deep (he is also a 95-percent free-throw shooter). After transferring from George Washington, and sitting out last year due to NCAA rules, the six-foot-one Roland is a key player and someone who could be looking for a special homecoming night.
If Syracuse Wins: The Orange would bump the overall record to 6-2 and would continue the hot streak that started following one cold-as-ice trip to New York City. This game is probably a stepping stone in terms of season-long goals and in terms of getting to Saturday’s home date with the Georgetown Hoyas. But it should be pointed out that Northeastern, never considered a major mid-major, isn’t exactly a push-over either. And given how Syracuse struggled against Cornell, tonight could be another one to toughen the Orange up.
If Syracuse Loses: Poop emoji. Several poop emojis. A loss that almost makes the win at Ohio State a true anomaly.
Fun Fact No. 1: Northeastern is among the few, the proud, the members of the 0-5, or greater, vs. Syracuse Club. Per OrangeHoops the following are O-for-the-Orange (among current Division I teams):
- Albany Great Danes (0-8)
- Lafayette Leopards (0-8)
- Siena Saints (0-8)
- Northeastern Huskies (0-6)
- Iona Gaels (0-5)
- Binghamton Bearcats (0-5)
- BYU Cougars (0-5)
- Kent State Golden Flashes (0-5)
- TCU Horned Frogs (0-5)
Fun Fact No. 2: The last time a player from Northeastern was selected in the National Basketball Association draft was in 1987. Furthermore, did you know that the Huskies had three players selected in that draft?
Gerry Corcoran was taken with the 22nd pick of the seventh round, Andre LaFleur went 12th in the fifth round, and the late, great Reggie Lewis was taken by the Boston Celtics 22nd overall.
That Northeastern team was loaded with talent and eventually made the NCAAs, losing to Purdue in the first round (Syracuse also crushed those Huskies, 94-74, in the Dome).