Syracuse‘s final season in the Big East is heading down the stretch with eight games to go and a half game lead on Marquette. The team got their sixth man back in James Southerland, and is ready for their last run at a championship. They’ve got a tough week ahead of them with a pair of road games against competent Big East teams. We’ll focus on game one against UConn.
Wednesday night will be the final matchup between Connecticut and Syracuse as members of the Big East conference. One of the greatest rivalries in basketball will come to an end, unless the schools agree to a home-and-home contract. Last year, these two played a classic game at Madison Square Garden with the Orange coming out on top 58-55. Dion Waiters had 18 points in the game, which got the Orange to the conference semifinals. Of course, everyone remembers the 127-117 six-overtime game back in 2009, which will forever be one of the best all time.
This year’s UConn team is 16-6, 6-4 in conference. They started off the year with a bang beating Michigan State in the airplane hangar. They have wins over Notre Dame and Washington, and close losses to New Mexico, NC State and Marquette. This is an uber talented team led by the backcourt of Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright.
This year, they’ve got more help in Omar Calhoun (11.1 PPG) and DeAndre Daniels (10.7 PPG). They aren’t the deepest squad as they rely on those four and Tyler Olander as well as Niels Giffey. Enosch Wolf played about 14 mins a game, but was suspended. Rebounding has been an issue for this team as Daniels leads the way with 4.8 rebounds per game.
Southerland’s return will be important as the Orange will need all the firepower they can get to get past their hated rivals.