Teams: Syracuse Orange (2-1, 0-1) vs. Cornell Big Red (1-3, 0-0)
Date & Time: Wednesday, November 20 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
Extended Forecast: High of 40 and cloudy.
The Line: Syracuse is favored by 19.5 points, and ESPN’s Matchup Predictor gives Syracuse a 93.5% chance to win.
Radio: Cuse.com, TK 99/105, WAER 88.3
Rivalry: Syracuse, 93-31
Current Streak: 39 (Syracuse)
First Meeting: 1901. In a defensive showdown, Syracuse edged Cornell 18-15. If you thought the offenses struggled in the Virginia game, well, you were right. But pre-shot clock, there were a lot of low scoring games like this.
Last Meeting: Way too close for comfort. Syracuse basketball won 63-55 in an ugly game. It was the second time Jim faced off against his son Jimmy, but the first time that Buddy Boeheim was on SU. Jimmy finished with 9 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists, while Buddy scored 3 points in limited minutes for the Orange. Tyus Battle led the way for Syracuse with 26 points.
Head Coaches: Syracuse - Jim Boeheim (44th year; 1,047-380) | Cornell - Brian Earl (4th Year, 36-56)
Coach Bio: Making last season’s CIT, Brian Earl led Cornell to their first postseason appearance since 2010. With All-Ivy Leaguer Matt Morgan, Cornell had an incredibly potent guard who helped navigate them to a 15-16 record, their best since 2010 when they went 29-5.
Last Year: Injuries and under-performance were the name of the game. A promising preseason ranking didn’t pan out for the Syracuse basketball squad, and they were eliminated in the first round of the NCAA tournament by Baylor.
Last Game: An offensive explosion against a bad defensive team. Don’t get me wrong, the Syracuse basketball offense looked much improved and the ball movement and passing were crisp, but it was against some pretty loose coverage. Even so, scoring 89 points, a feat that only happened once all of last year, gives some optimism that we won’t see the same stall ball isolation every time down the court.
”Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Jimmy Boeheim. In his third season with the Big Red, Boeheim has developed into the go-to player. After acting as a role player the last two seasons next to Matt Morgan, Boeheim now has his chance in the spotlight.
In four games so far this year, he’s averaging 15.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.8 assists. He hasn’t been as efficient so far this year as last year, as he’s shooting only 37 percent from the field and 26% from 3-point range, but it’s a small sample size. From the past two years, we know he has range and if he gets hot can knock down a lot of shots. Much like Buddy, he also has a solid mid range game and is decent off the bounce.
If Syracuse Wins: They better win. This is another game they can’t afford to lose. This would be a bad loss, likely in quadrant 3 or 4; the kind that can keep a bubble team from making the tournament come March. Last year’s game was way too close for comfort. Look for Syracuse to get out and run and try to put the game away early. With Joe Girard at point, we should see lots of transition opportunities and some open shots.
If Syracuse Loses: The positivity that has built up from the past two games will come crashing down. I hate the term must-win, and this certainly isn’t a must-win, but it’s a should-win... 99.9 percent of the time. A loss here would be a massive step back and be tough for such a young team at this juncture of the season.
Fun Fact 1: Matt Morgan, former Big Red phenom, is now playing in the G League. He has teamed up with former Syracuse basketball stars Tyler Ennis and Oshae Brissett for the Raptors 905, Toronto’s G League affiliate to form a formidable trio.
Fun Fact 2: This will be the third official “Battle of the Boeheims”, as Jim and Jimmy have squared off the last two years, but only the second time we’ll see brother vs. brother.