While we all recover and relish the victory at Yankee Stadium yesterday and start thinking about how tonight is New Years Eve, we as Cuse fans can not forget that tomorrow is a huge game for the basketball team.
The University is probably a little distracted by football right now. Safe to say it's been a long time since a Syracuse squad ranked 5th in the nation was over shadowed by the football team. But thanks to Doug Marrone and the rest of the SU Football team that's the world we're living in right now. There's a ton of excitement out there about the football team and rightly so.
For Jim Boeheim and the 14-0 Syracuse Orangemen, tomorrow is a New Years Day matinee against the #15 Notre Dame Fightin' Irish (12-1) in the Carrier Dome. Take out the Pinstripe Bowl victory and this is the biggest sporting event this weekend for Central New York.
Notre Dame is coming off a 69-55 victory against the #9 Georgetown Hoyas on Wednesday night in South Bend. Tim Abromaitis lead the Irish with 20 points, 5 of 7 from 3-point range, and Tyrone Nash had 15 points 10 rebounds. Now they're taking on the #5 Syracuse Orangemen.
In what has the makings to be a classic, the Orangemen enter the Dome undefeated and since the Michigan State game on December 7th have won each game by an average of 24 points. Kris Joseph has scored 20+ points three times in the past four games, including 27 points against Providence in the Big East opener on Tuesday night.
Scoop Jardine has a pair of 21 point games in his last two outings, and dished another 7 assists on Tuesday against Providence. As a team, Syracuse averages 17.7 assists per game, which ranks 17th in the nation.
For the Irish, senior Tim Abromaitis (6'8" 235 pounds) is the leading scorer, averaging 16.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. He is also shooting 38.2% from 3-point range. Directly behind him is Ben Hansbrough (6'3" 206 pounds) averaging 15.5 points per game and a 47.8% accuracy rating from behind the 3-point line. He is also Tyler Hansbrough's brother, of UNC fame.
Two more players average in double figures for Notre Dame, Carleton Scott (6'7" 217 pounds) and Tyrone Nash. Scott averages 12.1 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, and had a season high 23 points against Gonzaga on December 11th. Scott has also pulled down a season high 11 rebounds twice and shoots 33.9% from beyond the arc. Tyrone Nash (6'8" 232 pounds) out of Queens, NY had 15 points 10 rebounds in Wednesday night's game against #9 Georgetown. Nash averages 10.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
It will be interesting to see if freshman C.J. Fair plays in this game, after sitting out the past three games with an ankle injury. Prior to Tuesday's game against Providence Fair said he would be healthy enough to play. Fair sat on the bench in uniform although he did not take the court. Jim Boeheim said he had trouble jumping on Monday, we'll see if he plays Saturday.
Fab Melo was held to just 5 minutes of action and 2 rebounds in Tuesday's conference opener against the Friars. Baye Moussa Keita played just 11 minutes, so that means that Rick Jackson saw many of his 36 minutes on the court at the center position. We'll continue to monitor that situation as Conference play progresses.
Tip off for #5 Syracuse - #15 Notre Dame is at 3:30PM and the game will be televised live on ESPNU. Check back with The Cuse Connection after the game for full recap and analysis.
photo courtesy of syracuse.com