Former Syracuse assistant Rick Callahan will be coaching Monmouth in leu of a suspension of head coach King Rice as the Hawks head in to the Carrier Dome tonight. Tipoff is set for 7:00, and the game can be seen on Time Warner Cable Sports for those in the Syracuse market, and the SNY Network for those who are not in the area.
Rice has fallen under heavy scrutiny following his ejection in his team’s loss to Navy this past Wednesday. Rice was suspended for his actions that got him ejected from the game, as well as his post-game criticism of the officials where he eerily referred to himself in the third person:
“Here’s the problem,” Rice was quoted by the Asbury Park Press. “I don’t cuss at these guys, they’ve got a chip on their shoulder towards me.”
The newspaper said Rice was specifically referring to officials Brian Dorsey and Steve Ruppenthal.
“Those two officials have a problem with King Rice for some reason,” he said, “and they showed it tonight.”
The Hawks are 5-4 on the season, with close wins over South Alabama and Lafayette. Monmouth has already played a Big East team earlier this season, getting blown out at Notre Dame by 27 points. This game tonight is the first of two consecutive road games for the Hawks, as they head to Maryland Wednesday before hosting Villanova December 22.
Monmouth is a team that has three different players leading each of the three major offensive categories for the team. Senior guard Jesse Steele leads the team in assists at 4.1 per game, and senior Ed Waite leads the Hawks with just under 6 rebounds per game. The Hawk’s key player however, is sophomore Andrew Nicholas. Nicholas is averaging 15.7 points a game, who is an aggressive forward and loves to shoot. If he has difficulty driving the lane against the 2-3 zone, look for him to shoot some jump shots against the Orange.
For Syracuse, this is another tune up game getting ready for Big East play, and should be Jim Boeheim’s 898th win as a head coach. This game will be interesting to see if DeJuan Coleman can get it going a little more, who scored just four points Thursday night without making a field goal. CJ Fair had a hot first half Thursday before sitting most of the second half, so it will also be interesting to see if he can keep that momentum going in this contest.
Syracuse has three more tune up games before their next test of the season against Temple, so look for the Orange to work on a lot of things in this one. Look for the press to be brought out for a bit again, and look for Brandon Triche to be a little more aggressive in the early going against the Hawks.
This one should get ugly relatively fast, as a Saturday night game should provide a good atmosphere in the Dome with the student section fired up and a team that has no intention of slipping up any time soon.