Featured Photo Credit: GoGriffs.com
Jim Boeheim will go for win number 899 as the Syracuse Orange host Canisius tonight in the Carrier Dome. Tipoff is set for 7:00, and the game is being broadcast on Time Warner Cable Sports along with SNY.
The Golden Griffins enter this game with a 6-1 record, while being 2-0 in conference play. Canisius is school out of Buffalo that plays in the MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference), and traditionally is a team that struggles in the conference with crosstown rival Niagara University having the upper hand as a program in recent seasons. The Golden Griffins have not played the most difficult schedule in America, which may cause their 6-1 record to be misleading. Along with their easy schedule, Canisius has had close wins over Boston University, St. Bonaventure, and Buffalo, meaning the Griffs could easily be sitting at 6-4.
The Golden Griffins only have two players averaging double figure scoring per game so far this season. Harold Washington is a 6’1 senior guard who averages over 30 minutes a game, scoring 18 a night. Billy Baron also averages double figures at 17.7 points per game, and definitely knows the offense as the son of head coach Jim Baron.
If Canisius is going to win this game, they are going to need a big effort from junior Chris Manhertz. Manhertz is a 6’6 junior who leads the team in rebounding with 8 a game, and he is going to need more than that if Syracuse is going to be upset tonight. Manhertz is an experience veteran who is third on the team in minutes, and if the Syracuse front court can eat him up, I don’t think it will matter what Washington or Baron do, and this will be another Syracuse blowout.
One thing to watch is this game seems relatively easy to pick out. With Syracuse playing their first game in seven days, Michael Carter-Williams has stood out during the slow media week for all the wrong reasons. With allegations of Carter-Williams getting caught shoplifting at Destiny USA this week, it will be interesting to see how he responds on the court in his first game since all of the controversy. Carter-Williams leads the country in assists, and should be in position to put up another monster game today. This team showed it’s fortitude last season amidst controversy, so it should be interesting to see how they respond just two days removed from the article published by Mike Waters in the Syracuse Post-Standard describing the allegations from an anonymous source.
Another thing that will be interesting to see is how well this team plays out of the gate tonight. With the seven day layoff, I am very intrigued to see if this team stays sharp right from the opening tip. The Orange have another week layoff later in the season in between the Villanova game and what could be the most important game of the season against Louisville in early January, so avoiding the rust will be important for this team later in the season. If Syracuse picks up right where it left off, it will definitely be a good sign going forward.
I believe we will see more of the same tonight, and the Orange will cruise like they have been in the previous eight games.