Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sports Network Cornell at Syracuse Preview

Tuesday, November 30th, 7:00 p.m. (et)

The Sports Network

By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor

FACTS & STATS: Site: Carrier Dome (33,633) -- Syracuse, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Cornell 1-1, Syracuse 4-0. Away Record: Cornell 1-3, Syracuse 0-0. Neutral Record: Cornell 0-0, Syracuse 2-0. Conference Record: Cornell 0-0, Syracuse 0-0. Series Record: Syracuse leads, 86-31.

GAME NOTES: The eighth-ranked Syracuse Orange welcome the Cornell Big Red to the Carrier Dome for a non-conference clash this evening.

Cornell had a magical run in the 2010 NCAA Tournament, but many key contributors from that squad have moved on. This year's group is off to a rough start with just two victories through the first six outings, and the last three games have ended in defeat. On Saturday, the Big Red dropped a 66-61 decision to a mediocre Boston University club on the road.

Syracuse managed to win the Legends Classic title with an 80-76 victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday. That win enabled the Orange to move to 6-0, and the last three wins have all come by four or fewer points. Syracuse, which is expected to contend in the Big East Conference as usual, is 4-0 at home thus far and always tough to beat at The Carrier Dome.

The Orange own an 86-31 series advantage over Cornell, which includes an 88-73 victory over the Big Red last season.

Poor shooting was the most obvious culprit for Cornell in the loss to Boston University last time out, as the Big Red made good on just 35.7 percent of their field goal attempts, including a 9-of-28 showing from three-point range. A 40-32 rebounding disadvantage certainly didn't help matters, and neither did a 23-12 deficit in points from the foul line. Leading the way in the setback was Drew Ferry, as he netted 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the floor, including 6-of-12 from behind the arc. Adam Wire added 12 points, nine rebounds and three steals, but the rest of the team struggled. Chris Wroblewski managed to hit only 2-of-11 shots from the field en route to nine points, but he did pass out eight assists. Wroblewski is currently the team's leading scorer with 15.3 ppg, and he has 21 assists to his credit through the four games that he has played. Ferry, who has played in all six contests, brings 10.2 ppg to the mix. Overall, Cornell is only shooting 38 percent and scoring 63.3 ppg.

Syracuse is not an explosive offensive team by any means, as the club is averaging a modest 69.3 ppg on 42.6 percent shooting from the floor, including 32.5 percent from three-point range. Fortunately, coach Jim Boeheim's team has played tremendous defense, limiting opponents to 59.0 ppg on 36.9 percent field goal efficiency. There are three double-digit scorers in the fold for the Orange, and Kris Joseph is tops with 14.3 ppg. Scoop Jardine provides 12.8 ppg, and Rick Jackson contributes 12.0 ppg and 13.0 rpg. Syracuse connected on 55.6 percent of its field goal attempts against Georgia Tech on Saturday and earned a 26-8 edge in points from the foul line, the two most obvious contributing factors in the win. Joseph scored 19 points in that affair, while Jardine added 15 points and eight assists. Dion Waiters netted 13 points off the bench, while Jackson and C.J. Fair both tallied 10 points. Jackson also ripped down 14 boards.

There is little doubt that Syracuse will win tonight's game rather easily. The Orange are simply better than the Big Red in all aspects.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Syracuse 74, Cornell 57

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