Thursday, November 25, 2010

Meet Us Tomorrow Night, In Atlantic City

Well they, blew up the D.C. in Michigan last night
Ya, they blew up his house too.
Down on the Boardwalk they're getting ready for a fight
Gonna see what them Orange boys can do.

Now there's trouble bustin' in from out of state
And Bernie Fine can't get no relief.
Gonna be a rumble out at Boardwalk Hall,
And Jim Boeheim's hanging on by the skin of his teeth


This weekend the Syracuse Orangemen basketball team will leave the usually friendly confines of the Carrier Dome and venture out on the road for the first time this season. "Usually" being the key word here, as Syracuse has struggled shooting the ball inside the Dome through the early part of the season. In Sunday's nail-biter against lowly William & Mary, Syracuse shot just 36.7% from the field. Additionally, the Orangemen have only made 12 of 52 shots from beyond the arc this season (23.07%).

Thankfully, Syracuse gets a chance to shed those home shooting woes and take their show on the road. Jim Boeheim's crew is heading to Atlantic City, NJ for a two-game set in the Legends Classic. Beginning Friday night at 8PM Syracuse takes on the Michigan Wolverines at Boardwalk Hall. Also playing at 5:30PM is UTEP v. Georgia Tech. The winners meet on Saturday at 8PM. The losers will play before the "championship" game at 5:30.

Many people have been wondering why Syracuse has struggled shooting the ball early this season. One possible explanation is the 'home court advantage' the Carrier Dome lends the Orangemen. The cavernous sight lines which throw off visiting teams shooters could be hurting the home team. Thus, Syracuse could be falling victim to their own home court advantage.

Syracuse has been practicing at the brand new state of the art Melo Center, a much smaller facility than the Dome. Perhaps they need more time practicing shooting in the Dome. Perhaps they are just playing down to their competition. Either way, the boys from Syracuse are going to get a chance to shoot in a much smaller gym this weekend in Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall. We will watch and see if it has any effect.

The Orangemen need to get their confidence going. Most importantly Fab Melo, who has struggled mightily. Good news for Melo is that he shouldn't get pushed around inside, as Michigan doesn't have a player taller than 6'10". If he does continue to struggle, Baye Moussa Keita will come off the bench and give Syracuse quality minutes.

Through all the questions and poor shooting, Syracuse has still found a way to jump out to a quick 4-0 record. Michigan has gone 3-0, with wins against USC Upstate, Bowling Green and Gardner-Webb. Their average margin of victory has been 24 points, and they have yet to trail at the half to any of these opponents. Syracuse can not expect a team that will just roll over and allow Syracuse to take the game to them. The Wolverines are a very good rebounding team and Syracuse will have to scrap with them underneath if they want to come away with the loose ball.

Zack Novak and Jordan Morgan are each averaging 7.3 rebounds per game, and Morgan is also averaging 12 points per game for the Wolverines. Tim Hardaway Jr. is averaging 14.3 points per game and Darius Morris has chipped in an average of 14.7 points to help lead the Wolverines to their 3-0 record. Darius Morris has turned the ball over 7 times in 3 games, however he has also dished out 25 assists in the same time frame.

If Syracuse protects the basketball, limit turnovers and 3-point attempts, and is able to knock down open jumpers, they should be able to prevail against Michigan and play in the late game Saturday night.

The Cuse Connection will be tweeting live from Atlantic City all weekend. Additionally, baring any technical difficulties, there will be a podcast coming at some point Friday or Saturday, previewing the weekends events and discussing all things Orange. Please follow @CuseConnection on twitter to stay up to date on all the latest happenings from Atlantic City this weekend.


photo courtesy of syracuse.com




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