Syracuse Basketball: Orange’s first foe, Bryant, will prove a tough early test

Syracuse basketball (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Let’s take an in-depth look at Bryant, which Syracuse basketball plans to play this Friday.

We may not know up until shortly right before game time whether Syracuse basketball will get to host Bryant on Friday afternoon inside the Carrier Dome in the Orange’s 2020-21 term opener.

The ‘Cuse hoops activities have been on pause ever since the team disclosed more than a week ago that head coach Jim Boeheim and another member of the program had tested positive for Covid-19.

Boeheim recently told Donna Ditota of that his squad will be “ready to play” versus Bryant, assuming the non-conference clash can proceed amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Additionally, CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein tweeted on Nov. 21, “Syracuse will end its quarantine period next week and be ready to play on Friday (11/27) versus Bryant, per Jim Boeheim.”

Ditota also noted in her report that Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon has said “his office was comfortable with Syracuse hosting next week’s game.”

Orange players had received Covid-19 tests once a week, but Boeheim said on a recent Zoom call that testing is increasing to three times a week.

All of that being said, it’s nowhere near a certainty that the ‘Cuse and the Bulldogs will square off the day after Thanksgiving. And if they do compete, the Orange better come ready to play.

Syracuse basketball is slated to welcome Bryant to Central New York later this week.

It’s unclear when the ‘Cuse can resume practicing, and players could prove a little rusty when they take the court on Friday against Bryant, a team located in Smithfield, R.I.

The Bulldogs finished 15-17 in 2019-20, but they put forth some solid performances. They fell by just two points at Rutgers, a crew that had the most home wins in college basketball a stanza ago and will host the Orange next month as part of the 2020 ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

Bryant notched successes over Cornell and Niagara in 2019-20 and also hung pretty tough with Maryland in College Park, Md. The Bulldogs were not a particularly dominant offensive group last year, but they did record 40.3 rebounds per encounter, which is something to monitor given that the ‘Cuse often struggles in the rebounding department.

Friday’s match-up is the first-ever meeting between Syracuse basketball and Bryant in an official game. In the recently released Northeast Conference pre-season coaches poll, the Bulldogs were picked to finish in a tie for third place within their league. That’s after Bryant arrived at eighth in the league’s standings in 2019-20.

The Bulldogs’ roster contains multiple excellent players, such as sophomore guards Michael Green III, the reigning NEC Rookie of the Year, and Charles Pride, as well as one of the country’s best shot-blockers in redshirt senior forward Hall Elisias.

Next. Syracuse Basketball: What the Orange needs to do to go dancing in March. dark