Syracuse will open the 2013-14 basketball season at the Carrier Dome against Cornell on Friday evening. To get us prepped for the game, we sat down with our friend and former colleague Ian Halpern over at IvyHoopsOnline to get a scouting report for the upcoming game.
The Juice Online: Tell us about IvyHoopsOnline.
Ian Halpern: IvyHoopsOnline is made up of writers from each of the Ivy League’s eight schools. IHO came into existence in the summer of 2011 and has quickly made its mark on the tight-knit Ivy basketball community.
TJO: What kind of team is Cornell this year? Will they compete for the Ivy League/NCAA berth?
IH: Halfway through February last season, it looked like Cornell had a dark-horse shot at the Ivy title after sweeping the southern New England road trip at Yale and Brown to improve to 5-3 in league play. Then star sophomore forward Shonn Miller went down with a shoulder injury and the Big Red proceeded to lose its final six games. When healthy, Miller may be the best athlete in the Ancient Eight; news that he still hasn’t recovered from the shoulder injury and may be out for the entire 2013-14 season essentially ends any talk of Cornell competing at the top of the league. This is a young, inexperienced team that will likely be mired at the bottom of the standings.
TJO: Who should we be on the lookout for?
IH: Cornell does have some talent on the squad and it starts with knockdown sophomore shooter Nolan Cressler. The rookie had a very solid 2012-13, shooting over 40% from three-point range and averaging 9.3 ppg and 3.7 rpg in just 23 minutes per contest. He’ll be one of the best scoring options for the Big Red this season, sharing the backcourt with point guard Devin Cherry who will need to do a better job of taking care of the ball this season. The frontcourt will be full of fresh faces, including 6′ 11″ Canadian sophomore Braxston Bunce, who has yet to play a single minute of college basketball. David Onuorah, a 6′ 8″ freshman from Atlanta who turned down an SEC offer from Auburn to head to Ithaca, is another young player with a chance to start in the depleted Red frontcourt.
TJO: What are your predictions for this game?
IH: What an introduction to college basketball this will be for many of Cornell’s young players… It’s tough to see the Big Red hanging with Syracuse for long given the lack of big man experience. Setting aside the talent disparity for a moment, this also isn’t a great stylistic matchup for Cornell who liked to get out and run last year, but won’t be able to against the more athletic Orange. The only real chance for Cornell is to shoot over the vaunted ‘Cuse zone and hope for the best. It will probably be a long day at the Carrier Dome for the wide-eyed youngsters who will struggle to defend the interior. Syracuse should roll by 25-30.