Syracuse, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The eighth-ranked Syracuse Orange open up
their 2013-14 campaign at home, as they welcome the Cornell Big Red to the
Carrier Dome on Friday.
Jim Boeheim's Orange were once again in the thick of the national title race a
year ago, finishing 30-10 overall and making a run to the Final Four. This
season will be a first for Syracuse, which transitions to the Atlantic Coast
Conference after a a celebrated stay among the Big East elite. With three
starters back, including ACC Preseason Player of the Year C.J. Fair, a smooth
transition to arguably the nation's best conference is expected.
Bill Courtney's Big Red are coming off a 13-18 season, including a 5-9 mark in
the Ivy League. Courtney definitely has his work cut out for him, as he must
replace four starters from last year, as well as start the season without his
only real commodity, All-Ivy First-Teamer Shonn Miller, who is sidelined with
an injury to start the campaign.
These two programs are certainly no strangers to one another, as this game
marks the 119th all-time meeting in a series that dates back to the 1900-01
season. The Orange hold an 87-31 advantage all-time and have won the last 33
It seems like an eon since the Big Red were boasting of three straight Ivy
League championships (2008-10). Having to rebuild a team that was five games
under .500 isn't necessarily a bad thing, but Courtney may struggle early on
to fill all the voids left by graduation, including the losses of Johnathan
Gray (10.0 ppg) and Errick Peck (9.7 ppg). To make matters worse, Miller (11.5
ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.9 bpg, 1.9 spg) is the team's most complete player but is out
indefinitely with a shoulder injury. Nolan Cressler (9.3 ppg) drained over 40
percent from behind the arc as a reserve last season, and will be expected to
carry a larger portion of the scoring load, especially early on. Devin Cherry
(6.2 ppg) will be called on to do the same. Freshmen David Onuorah (6-9, 230)
and Robert Hatter (6-2, 165) will be force-fed minutes right away up front and
in the backcourt, respectively.
Jim Boeheim did it again last season, taking a talented team far into the
postseason. The losses of Brandon Triche (13.6 ppg), Michael Carter-Williams
(11.9 ppg, 7.3 apg) and James Southerland (13.3 ppg) cannot be minimized, but
a veteran core, highlighted by Fair, an influx of young talent and Boeheim's
patented zone defense should pay immediate dividends in the ACC. Freshman
Tyler Ennis (6-2, 180) will get the opportunity to run the point. Other likely
candidates to contribute in the backcourt are fellow freshman Ron Patterson
(6-3, 195), sophomore Trevor Cooney (6-4, 195) and Duke transfer Michael
Gbinije (6-7, 200). While fresh faces will man the backcourt, the frontcourt
is loaded, with the ultra-athletic Fair (14.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg), DaJuan Coleman
(4.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg) and Rakeem Christmas (5.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg).
The Sports Network