Syracuse basketball is set to host top Patriot League team Colgate from Hamilton, N.Y., on Tuesday evening at the JMA Wireless Dome, as the Orange looks to snap a two-game losing streak at the hands of the Raiders.
As I noted in another recent post, the ‘Cuse (2-0) and Colgate (1-0) will get going in their non-conference affair starting at 7 pm, with television coverage on the ACC Network.
Tuesday night’s battle will represent the sternest test to date in the young 2023-24 season for Syracuse basketball, which so far has registered double-digit victories over Canisius and New Hampshire.
The Raiders, a group that has made four straight NCAA Tournament appearances, will not be fazed by the Orange or by playing at the Dome. Colgate, in defeating the ‘Cuse on consecutive occasions, has produced at a high level from beyond the arc, so the Syracuse basketball defense, which has proven so-so in 2023-24 at this juncture, had better be ready for a dogfight.
In the current term, the Raiders have suited up just once, defeating Ivy League team Brown at home in a nail-biter, 72-70, on November 6.
Colgate vs. Syracuse basketball odds, spread and total
When I wrote this article, DraftKings had the Orange as a 5.0-point betting favorite versus the Raiders on the Hill, with the over/under set at 157.5 points.
Colgate vs. Syracuse basketball key players to watch
Sophomore guard Braeden Smith
Smith, in the team’s 2023-24 season opener, was excellent, as he tallied 17 points, five assists, three steals and one rebound. Smith, though, did commit six turnovers as well.
Sophomore point guard Judah Mintz
Mintz has led the ‘Cuse in scoring during its first two games, both home wins. He’s averaging 23.0 points, 3.5 assists, 3.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals and only 1.0 turnover per game. In an encouraging sign, Mintz is connecting on 42.9 percent from 3-point land.
Junior forward Benny Williams
Last Friday afternoon, the Orange announced that Williams “has returned to all activities” with Syracuse basketball. He had missed the squad’s first pair of regular-season games after being suspended from the ‘Cuse “for a violation of team rules.” I’m curious to see whether Williams is in the starting rotation versus Colgate, how many minutes he receives, and how he performs.
Colgate vs. Syracuse basketball prediction and pick
These two New York state programs have competed with one another for a long, long time, dating back to the 1901-02 term. The Orange owns a 127-47 all-time advantage over the Raiders, but let’s be honest, the vast majority of ‘Cuse fans likely are focusing on the past two encounters, which did not go well for Syracuse basketball.
I have a lot of respect for Colgate and its outstanding head coach, Matt Langel. I do believe that Tuesday night’s contest will be close, just as the odds-makers are projecting.
I’m on the fence here. On the one hand, the Raiders have taken it to the Orange in their two most recent games, and Colgate has succeeded on the road both times. On the other hand, this is a different Syracuse basketball team, one with numerous new faces and a new head coach in Adrian Autry.
I’ll be a homer. I don’t envision either team winning by more than a few points, and I’ll forecast a ‘Cuse win over the Raiders, 83-79.