The Syracuse Orange will be playing their last non-conference game of the regular season against Eastern Michigan on Tuesday. Former Syracuse assistant Rob Murphy is the head coach of Eastern Michigan and is returning to the Carrier Dome for third time since taking the job.
Syracuse has handled the Eagles in the previous two meetings, winning both games 84-48. The Orange (12-0) are coming off one of their biggest wins of the season beating Villanova 78-62 at home to extend their non-conference home winning streak to 50 games. The Eastern Michigan Eagles are 7-4 overall and have lost four of their last six, including a blowout loss to Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday.
The Eagles, who shoot 44.4 percent from the field and 34.3 percent from three, struggled to make shots against the Blue Devils, shooting just 37.5 percent from the field and 22.2% from beyond the arc. The Orange continued their solid shooting streak from the field last game, shooting 46.7 percent from the field and 53.8 percent from long range. Eastern Michigan, who plays a 2-3 zone, is currently eighth in the country in field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to 37 percent. In three games against ranked opponents, (Kentucky, Massachusetts and Duke) the Eagles have held them to 43 percent, 43 percent and 40 percent respectively. The Orange will have to come out hot again if they want to beat the Eagles.
The Orange will look to get C.J. Fair involved early because the Eagles had trouble guarding Duke’s star player Jabari Parker, who erupted for 23 points and eight rebounds. Trevor Cooney will also be getting a lot of good looks to shoot against a zone defense. The redshirt sophomore will be looking to stay hot after his 21 point performance on 5-8 shooting from three against Villanova.
Another familiar face is returning to the Carrier Dome along with Coach Murphy. Da’Shonte Riley transferred from Syracuse and will be playing against his former team for the third time as a senior. Riley is second on the team in minutes and rebounds, and leads the team with 3.5 blocks per game.
The Pick: The Orange are playing great basketball right now, and I don’t see the Eagles stopping it. The Orange have more talent and if they come out hot it will be hard for the Eagles to hang around. Look for Fair and Cooney to get involved early and often. It will be unlikely that the score is the same three years in a row, so the Orange will win this one 85-50.
Where: Carrier Dome
When: 3 p.m.