Jim Boeheim looks to pass Bob Knight on the all-time career wins list as Syracuse opens Big East play tonight against Rutgers. Tip-off is set for 7:00 inside the Carrier Dome, and is on Time Warner Cable Sports. Those not in the market for the game can watch the game online on ESPN3.
The final season in the Big East for Syracuse will be underway tonight when the Scarlet Knights come to town. Rutgers is 9-2 on the season, with losses to Ole Miss and St. Peter’s. The schedule has not been difficult for Rutgers, however they open Big East play with four of their first six conference games being against ranked opponents. The Scarlet Knights are led by sophomore Eli Carter. Carter averages 16.9 points per game. Carter loves to get to the free throw line, where he is over a 90% free throw shooter. I believe that Syracuse should be able to contain and shut him down, but may have more problems with sophomore point guard Myles Mack. Mack averages 14.5 points per game, but shoots over 50% from the three point line. The Rutgers offense will undoubtedly look to get him the ball against the zone, and if he gets hot could have one of those career scoring nights that Syracuse can occasionally give up to a good shooter.
For Syracuse, this game will be interesting to see if the Orange can carry over the momentum they gained in the final 30 minutes of the Central Connecticut game on the rebounding front. It seemed like it was definitely a point of interest to crash the boards harder, and the Orange are going to have to continue this if they are going to win in the Big East. If Syracuse can box out and limit Rutgers to one shot a possession, they will be in good shape to cruise in this one. The Orange were fortunate enough to have a relatively soft opening to their Big East schedule, and if they can take care of business against these weaker teams they should be able to put themselves in a good position when the meat of the schedule hits.
The spread opened up at 15.5 in favor of Syracuse, and if I were a betting man I would give the points with the Orange tonight in this one.