Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Blogsphere Previews of Cornell at Syracuse

Below, several previews from around the blogosphere for tonight's Cornell at Syracuse game.

All Jim Boeheim learned from Syracuse's first five games was that his team could win ugly, which it did by overcoming some dreadful shooting.

The eighth-ranked Orange's latest effort, though, was much more complete.

Syracuse tries to build on a hot-shooting performance that helped it win the Legends Classic when it returns to the Carrier Dome on Tuesday night looking for a 33rd consecutive win over struggling Cornell.

The Orange (6-0) shot 40.6 percent in their first five games, and their Hall of Fame coach wasn't pleased after a 53-50 win over Michigan on Friday.

"I'm glad (our schedule) isn't any harder or else we'd be 1-4," Boeheim said.

He was far more enthusiastic about his team's performance in Saturday's championship game. Syracuse shot a season-high 55.6 percent from the field and made 26 of 38 free throws in an 80-76 win over Georgia Tech.

"We hadn't played well for five games and won," Boeheim said. "Tonight, we played well and we won."

Kris Joseph scored a team-high 19 points against the Yellow Jackets, one day after leading the way with 22 versus the Wolverines. Five Orange players reached double figures in the championship game, while Brandon Triche added nine points.

"We got a dangerous team when you got guys like that," said guard Scoop Jardine, who's averaging 12.8 points but shooting 34.2 percent. "It's going to happen where everyone can contribute. We're going to be a dangerous team."

There's reason to believe Syracuse's performance will carry over to Tuesday's visit from the Big Red (2-4). The Orange have shot 50.1 percent in their seven wins against Cornell since 2001, though they've only hit 28.7 percent from 3-point range.

When the in-state rivals met Nov. 24, 2009, in the Carrier Dome, Syracuse was hitting from all over the floor. Triche scored 21 points as the Orange shot 50.9 percent from the field, went 9 of 18 from beyond the arc and made 23 of 28 free throws in an 88-73 win - their 32nd straight in the series dating to 1968.

Cornell went 25-2 the rest of the regular season, then knocked off Temple and Wisconsin in the NCAA tournament. Its historic run - the Big Red were the first Ivy League team to advance to the round of 16 since Pennsylvania in 1979 - ultimately ended with a 62-45 loss to Kentucky in Syracuse, of all places.

Coach Steve Donahue left for Boston College, and Bill Courtney's first season on the sidelines isn't going particularly well. Cornell has lost three straight by a total of 10 points after falling 66-61 at Boston University on Saturday.

Leading scorer Chris Wroblewski was held to a season-low nine points, but the junior guard has experience playing well at the Carrier Dome. He scored a team-high 20 points - hitting 6 of 12 from 3-point range - last season against Syracuse.

One positive for the Big Red from Saturday was the insertion of Andrew Ferry into the starting lineup. The Valparaiso transfer scored 22 points and hit 6 of his 12 attempts from beyond the arc.

Cornell has shot 36.1 percent or worse in its losses, but its rebounding struggles might be an even more dire concern. The Big Red's minus-8.2 per game differential is among the worst in the nation.

"The Syracuse Orange men's basketball team will face off against Cornell Tuesday night at 7 pm. The Big Red are a far cry from last year's Sweet 16 team.....and by far cry I mean they aren't very good. So while the Orange have struggled at times to score, become a cohesive unit and a settle into a true rotation, I expect them to take care of their neighbors rather handily."

"The #7 Syracuse Orange enter this game at 6-0 coming off this weekend’s win in the Legends Tournament. Their foe inside the Carrier Dome? Instate rival Cornell. But don’t be fooled; this isn’t last year’s Big Red. No, sir. This isn’t a team that has any business making it to the Sweet 16 this year. They’ve lost a lot of size and experience from last year, and it shows on the court. I saw the Big Red live in action in their on-campus gym against St. Bonaventure on November 19. They lost to the Bonnies 56-54 by blowing something like a 12-point lead in the game’s final eight minutes. St. Bonaventure played them hard on defense pretty much the entire way, beat them on the boards, and made them shoot the ball from three. Cornell did have a couple of players able to shoot and hit the three, but it was just not enough to overcome the Bonaventure attack. I think this game play favors the Orange; a strong defensive effort, good rebounding, and a continued good shooting effort to carry over from the Georgia Tech game should spell victory for Syracuse. I’ll put the margin of victory at 12, and put the number of inappropriate gorge jokes I make right around 3."

"Syracuse emerges from the weekend 6-0 overall this season and with the Legends Classic Trophy. Up next for the Orangemen is Cornell University on Tuesday in the Carrier Dome at 7PM. Cornell is 2-4 this season. Steve Donahue is out as head coach of the Big Red, as he took over the coaching duties for Boston College following Cornell's surprise Sweet 16 appearance. Bill Courtney, former UVA and Virginia Tech assistant coach, is now the head coach of Cornell."

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