Newshouse Sports

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Posts Tagged ‘nonconference’

SU Basketball Must Stay Focused Before Schedule Heats Up

Posted by Todd Kramer on November 18, 2008

After an easy 85-51 win over Le Moyne on Sunday, Syracuse hosts a Division I opponent tonight when Richmond visits the Carrier Dome.  And for those SU fans who are thinking, “Hey, it’s just Richmond,” be careful.  Games like these are typical trap games for the Cuse, who lost early nonconference games last year to teams like Rhode Island and UMass, which did not help their NCAA tournament resumes out at all down the stretch.  In this game, the second for the Orange in the CBE Classic, SU needs to not look ahead to potential matchups with the last two national champions – Florida and Kansas.  The Orange actually is guaranteed to play the Gators Monday in the CBE regardless of winning or losing to the Spiders tonight, but a loss to Richmond certainly wouldn’t help the team’s confidence going into that game.

The Spiders employ the type of offense that could give Syracuse’s zone defense fits.  Their coach, Princeton graduate Chris Mooney, likes to incorporate Princeton’s famous spread-the-floor, backdoor-cut style, and the team can also knock down three-pointers (Richmond shot 39 percent from beyond the arc in a 24-point win over Division III Randolph-Macon on Saturday).  Any team that can hit its shots can give the Orange a run for its money.

In fact, according to Paul Harris, the Orange has been preparing for the Spiders offense since even before its first game.  This is what Harris had to say in a story from’s Donna Ditota:

“Actually we’ve been talking more about Richmond than Le Moyne, to be honest with you. Basically, we’ve been going over in practice a lot of back-door cuts and really, their whole offense.”

With a tougher nonconference schedule this year than in years past – aside from the CBE Classic, Syracuse hosts Virginia and visits 12th-ranked Memphis – it is imperative for the Orange to pick up wins against teams it should beat.  With the game televised on ESPN, tonight is a chance for SU to make a statement with a date with Florida just around the corner.


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