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Syracuse vs Virginia basketball preview: Q&A with Streaking the Lawn

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Getting to know the other school in orange and blue

NCAA Basketball: Virginia at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019-20 Syracuse Orange basketball season kicks off tonight as the Orange welcomes the defending National Champion Virginia Cavaliers to The Dome. With both teams facing the replacement of a number of key players, what do we expect from tonight’s game?

We asked Caroline Darney from Streaking the Lawn to give us some insight into Tony Bennett’s crew.

How many times since last April have you been talking with other Virginia fans where one of you stops and says “We actually won the National Championship”? Is anyone tired of talking about that Tournament run?

There have been approximately 1 million times that I have been a part of a conversation like that. It’s partly because it was the first title and something that just felt so unreal, but also because of HOW that tournament went. I think I have watched the last three games of the tournament about 15 times each, including starting the Purdue game on YouTube the same time as three of my best friends so we could text each other in real time. If anyone ever gets tired of talking about it, they have to turn in their fan card.

Virginia is the defending National Champion and yet the ACC is sending them on the road to The Dome to open the regular season. Are Cavaliers fans mad that they aren’t hosting the opening game? Clemson fans would be apoplectic with this level of #Disrepekt

Hahaha there are a bunch of fans that look at it as #Disrepekt, but truth is this was set up well before Virginia hoisted that trophy in the air on April 8. Do I love having to play at the Carrier Dome to open the season? No. Do I think they’d send Duke on a road game like that to open the season? Lolol hell no. But, we’ll learn a lot about the Cavaliers out the gate.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-South Regional-Purdue vs Virginia Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of #Disrepekt, Virginia has won the ACC regular season three of the last five years yet this year they were only predicted to finish fourth? Are the media underestimating this team?

I think 4th is about right for this year’s team. Obviously losing a bunch of pieces (namely Jack Salt) is a big hit, but there are just so many questions to answer. How will the back court develop? Will Jay Huff take advantage of the extra minutes? How will the first years contribute? I personally picked Louisville to win the ACC because I love their team, but I have complete faith in Tony Bennett to keep the Cavaliers competitive.

How do the Cavaliers reload after losing Deandre Hunter, Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy? Is Mamadi Diakite ready to become the go-to player or do you expect others to emerge to help shoulder the load?

I’m really excited about some of the incoming first years -- especially Casey Morsell -- and the Hoos will need to get production out of them ASAP. Tomas Woldetensae, junior college transfer, is another wildcard and someone that could replace some of that outside shooting.

The big thing, however, is going to be how Mamadi Diakite, Braxton Key, Jay Huff, and Kihei Clark perform. Those four are the “experienced” players (lol Kihei is just a second year), and if Virginia wants to have a successful season, those guys have to play well. This is Diakite’s team, and he’s worked hard all offseason to add more perimeter shooting.

We know it’s going to happen so which unknown Virginia player is going to torch the Syracuse zone from the 3-pt line? It’s going to be Kody Stattmann isn’t it?

Yeah, I’m going with Stattmann. There’s a chance he starts, and that would be just hilarious, imo.

TNIAAM Note: That really wouldn’t be hilarious.

NCAA Basketball: Morgan State at Virginia
Kody Stattmann seems poised to fill the “unknown guy making multiple 3s vs Syracuse” role
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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Thanks Caroline. Be sure to check out Streaking the Lawn for all things Virginia Cavaliers sports.