Pregame: Providence College at Syracuse University

Posted: February 2, 2010 in Pregame
Tags: , ,

Opponent: The Syracuse University Orange / Est. 1870 / Syracuse, NY / Enrollment(UG) 13,200 / BIG EAST

Ranking: AP #3  |  ESPN #4

All-time Series: Friars 10  |  Orange 41

Location: The Carrier Dome [33,633]  Syracuse, NY

Date: Tuesday February, 2

Time: 7:00pm

Coverage: TV- Cox  |  Radio- WEEI 103.7FM Providence  |  Internet- ESPN 360

What you should know about the Orange: Syracuse lost there three best players in Johnny Flynn, Paul Harris, and Eric Devondwarf, but somehow are significantly better than a team that was pretty great last year. With their #3 ranking and Jim Boeheim, one of the greatest, and most winningest college basketball coaches of all time, it is clear they are the real deal.  So what has allowed Syracuse to withstand losses that would have crippled other teams?  Well for one the famous Syracuse 2-3 zone, and this is arguably the best it has ever been.  They are long and get in the passing lanes.  It moves well and is tough to beat.  The Orange are also big and fast, a combination not seen too often.  They have great size at every position.  There point guard is the smallest starter at 6’4″.  But even with that height they pick up steals in the 2-3 and are off to the races.  Love them or hate them, they are a fun team to watch in transition.

But arguably the biggest factor that has allowed Syracuse to emerge as a title contender is Iowa State transfer, Wes Johnson.  Johnson is a 6’7″ junior from Texas and make sure you watch him this year because he probably won’t be coming back.  At the small forward position, he has great size, speed, and athleticism.  He is a 46% three point shooter this year, but is better from 15 feet.  He is great in transition and can spin his way into the paint and finish.  Johnson, despite being the leader scorer for the Orange does not take too many shots.  He is very unselfish, but that allows the rest of the Orange’s seven man rotation to contribute as well.  Arinze Onuaku and Rick Jackson are forces down low, with each averaging over nine points a game.  Onuaku is a brick wall and has nice touch around the rim as seen by his over 62% field goal percentage.  Giving support is the sharp shooting of guard Andy Rautnis, and the break out play of sophomore combo Kris Joseph.  And what have the Orange done without Johhny Flynn?  They work two point guards in, in Brandon Triche, and Scoop Hardine.  Both of whom can run the offense and make plays happen.  After that not too many others get in.  Occasionally Mookie Jones, a lanky smooth shooting combo will enter the game, but it is essentially a seven man rotation.

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