After a week off, the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team returns to the court on Wednesday night to face the Colgate Raiders. Colgate is 1-1 on the year after splitting games with NJIT and Clemson. As you know, Syracuse lost an ugly opener to Virginia, and still aims for their first win of the year.
So what do we think happens tonight when these long-time CNY foes face off at the Carrier Dome? Before the tip at 7 p.m. ET, TNIAAM weighs in:
Syracuse 77, Colgate 61
Let me be the first to admit how horribly, unequivocally wrong I was about the Virginia game. They play the exact brand of basketball that SU has a tough time handling: in-your-face defense and a packed paint. Colgate won’t present nearly that challenge on defense. Although they are a very solid team and have a great shot at making it back to the NCAA tournament, I think they lack the depth and athleticism 1-5 to really compete with Syracuse. I think Rapolas Ivanauskas and Will Rayman will both play well on the interior for Colgate, but it won’t be enough, and the talent gap will be the difference. I expect SU to try and get out in transition more this game. Virginia made that nearly impossible with the philosophy behind the packline defense, but there will be opportunities against Colgate. Jalen Carey, Buddy Boeheim, Joe Girard III, and Brycen Goodine all need to make a concerted effort to get the ball up the court quickly and get easy buckets.
Syracuse 74, Colgate 62
Colgate might be one of the better mid-majors in the country, but will be nothing compared to what Syracuse saw last week against Virginia. Hungry for its first win, Syracuse doesn’t look past the Patriot League favorite and gets back to the shooting it showed in its two exhibition games. The Orange also look better inside and on the boards against a smaller and less athletic Colgate squad. The Raiders keep pace in the first half through three-point shooting of their own, but the Orange pull away in the second and pick up a win that looks much better in March.
Syracuse 74, Colgate 67
The Raiders enter this game after a closer than the final score loss at Clemson. They bring a talented and experienced group but the Orange should be able to exploit their thin 6-man rotation. It’s important for Syracuse to start well to get the crowd into the game and erase the lingering effects of last week’s offensive implosion. If Colgate can hang around their veteran players gain the advantage as this group nearly pulled of a major NCAA upset last March. In the end I think Elijah Hughes hits enough shots to get the Orange into the win column.
Syracuse 68, Colgate 61
Time to recalibrate Syracuse back to the 60s, before we talk about anything else. While Colgate yielded over 70 points to NJIT and Clemson, it held both to the low 30s in 3-pt%. With how much Syracuse appears reliant on the triple, it doesn’t seem likely the Orange will start raining yet. Will Rayman is raining (5-for-7) from outside, but the Raiders’ volume isn’t high enough outside right now to project them stealing this one with shooting. Escaping Virginia won’t solve the Orange’s offensive woes, but it’ll allow their sharp-looking defense to edge out a victory -- if they rebound.
Syracuse 75, Colgate 66
This game could be closer than what most Syracuse fans think, as the Raiders won the Patriot League a season ago and gave Tennessee all it could handle in the NCAA Tournament. The Raiders bring back Player of the Year in the conference, Rapolas Ivanauskas, along with Will Rayman, who was Second Team All Patriot League and on the all defensive team. Jordan Burns and Jack Ferguson are back as well. The problem with Colgate is its lack of depth, which will prove to be its undoing at Syracuse much like it did against Clemson. Syracuse should be able to have some success on the defensive end, while the offense takes a step in the right direction behind Elijah Hughes and Buddy Boeheim. Perhaps the elder Boeheim elects to play nine or ten guys in this one?
Syracuse 72, Colgate 66
Colgate doesn’t have the defensive chops to clamp down on Syracuse the way Virginia did (few teams do), but they do have at least four capable scorers — plus noted long-range assassin Jack Ferguson. Think this one winds up a lot closer than fans want to see for much of the game before SU puts any real distance between the teams (and even then, it’s minimum). Expect a better showing from distance for the Orange, and hopefully some quality inside play on both ends.
Now it’s your turn...
Who will win the Syracuse vs. Colgate game?
This poll is closed
Orange brush away last week’s loss
Colgate, and we’re at Threat Level Midnight