Jim Boeheim will go for his 900th win when the Orange host the Detroit Titans tonight in the Carrier Dome. Tipoff is set for 7:00, and is on ESPN2.
The Titans enter this game with a 6-4 record. Detroit comes from the Horizon league, which is one of the tougher conferences in the country. The Tigers are 0-3 against Big East and ACC teams, with losses to St. Johns, Miami, and Pittsburgh so far this season.
Detroit is led by junior guard RayMcCallum. McCallum leads the team with 19.4 points and 4.9 assists a game. McCallum is the song of head coach Ray McCallum, which is coincidentally enough the second consecutive game that Syracuse faces a player in that scenario. Syracuse will absolutely have to keep an eye on him, as it will take big production on his behalf if Detroit is going to hang with the Orange tonight.
In the paint, the Orange are going to have to contain senior Nick Minnerath. Minnerath averages just under twelve points and six rebounds a game. Syracuse had a difficult time on the glass for a period in the first half against Canisius, and Minnerath is the player that will make the Orange pay if they are lackluster on the boards. However, Syracuse is third in the nation in rebounds, so it will be a tall order for the 6’9 forward.
The focus of this game is obviously more on Jim Boeheim’s milestone rather than the basketball itself. While that may bother some fans that there is so much focus being put on the accomplishment, it is an incredible feat that deserves all of the recognition it is getting. As important as hitting win number 900 is, the real importance will be when Boeheim gets to win 903 and passes Bob Knight on the all-time wins list.
I think this game will not start out like the first half of the Canisius game. That game was a situation where I think inactivity in a game scenario for a week led to some rust, and the Orange should have no problem coming out of the gates strong tonight. I believe that the players will be motivated and hungry to put on a show on national television, and if Syracuse comes out of the gate swinging, look for this game to be put away early.