Rutgers (9-2) at (7) Syracuse (12-1)
Wednesday, January 2, 7 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, College Basketball Senior Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Carrier Dome (33,000) -- Syracuse, New York. Television: BEN, MSG. Home Record: Rutgers 6-1, Syracuse 10-0. Away Record: Rutgers 2-1, Syracuse 1-0. Neutral Record: Rutgers 1-0, Syracuse 1-1. Conference Record: Rutgers 0-0, Syracuse 0-0. Series Record: Syracuse leads, 38-9.
GAME NOTES: Jim Boeheim takes aim at history on Wednesday evening, as the seventh-ranked Syracuse Orange take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in the Big East-opener for both programs.
Syracuse moved to an impressive 12-1 on the season with a 96-62 rout of Central Connecticut State on Monday. The victory was the 902nd in Boeheim's career, tying him with Bobby Knight for the second-most in NCAA history. The Orange's lone loss of the season came against Temple just before Christmas, but Syracuse was able to close out the 2012 calendar year with a pair of victories. The Orange have the nation's longest current homecourt winning streak, now sitting at 32 games.
Mike Rice's Scarlet Knights are off to a fast start as well, with nine wins in the first 11 games. Rutgers brings a five-game win streak into conference play, including last week's 68-56 win over Rider.
Syracuse holds a 38-9 advantage in the series with Rutgers. The Orange have won 12 straight meetings and 22 of the 23 all-time meetings at home. Rutgers' last win in the series came in 2003 and its last win at Syracuse was in 1975.
Rutgers isn't an offensive juggernaut by any stretch, but the team has been efficient at that end of the court, averaging 74.3 ppg on 48.3 percent shooting. Eli Carter is the top scoring option on the team at 16.9 ppg, bolstered by a Big East best .905 shooting percentage from the free-throw line (57-of-63). Backcourt mate Myles Mack is also in double figures at 14.5 ppg and is the team's top sniper, converting 51.2 percent from behind the arc (22- of-43). Dane Miller (8.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and Wally Judge (7.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg) give the team an identity on the boards, while providing limited scoring depth.
Four Scarlet Knights finished in double figures in the win over Rider. Miller led the way with 18 points. Carter poured in 15 points, while Kadeem Jack and Judge chipped in with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Rutgers won the game despite shooting a modest 42.9 percent from the floor, a number hampered by a 1-of-8 showing from 3-point range.
A game that was close early on, turned into a lopsided affair, as Syracuse went on a 29-5 run to close out the first half against Central Connecticut State. The Orange shot 52.6 percent from the floor over the final 20 minutes to run away with the win and hand Boeheim his 902nd career win. Michael Carter-Williams led the way with his seventh double-double of the year with 18 points and 13 rebounds. C.J. Fair completed the feat as well, with 13 points and 10 boards. Brandon Triche and Dajuan Coleman added 13 points apiece, while James Southerland chipped in with 11 points off the bench.
Syracuse has dominated the opposition at both ends this season, averaging 82.0 ppg and boasting of a hefty +23.6 scoring margin. Southerland and Triche are tied for the team-lead in scoring at 13.8 ppg each. Fair is next in line at 12.6 ppg, while leading the team in rebounding (6.9 rpg). Carter-Williams however, is the straw that stirs the drink, posting 12.2 ppg, while leading the nation in assists (10.2 apg).
With sole possession of second place on the all-time wins list on tap, the Orange are likely to be focused at the task at hand and begin conference play with a celebration for their coach and his career accomplishments.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Syracuse 77, Rutgers 70
01/02 10:37:53 ET