My view from the Carrier Dome, where No. 8 Syracuse is a 2 1/2-point favorite over No. 9 U of L today.
Crowd is already building, the students are packing into the end zone behind us, standing in the aisle already. We’re also right in front of the band, which, by the way, sounds great.
It’s hard to believe that in 2009, you could have a game between two top 10 college basketball games in the Big East Conference and have no national television.
Obviously, it’s a big opportunity for U of L. I think it’s going to come down to perimeter shooting and rebounding for U of L. Provided the Cards play defense the way they’ve been playing it. I look for Jerry Smith to get the initial assignment on Syracuse star guard Jonny Flynn. But it’s going to be interesting to see how U of L attacks this game defensively.
Syracuse, in league games only, is second in the Big East in scoring at 79 points per game. U of L, in conference games only, leads the Big East in allowing 62.4 points per game.
The Orange would seem to have it all offensively. They’ve got a defensive beast and a sure-handed scorer in the post in Arinze Onuaku, who is shooting 70 percent from the field on the season (but just 18 percent from the free-throw line in Big East play).
They’ve got outside firepower in Andy Rautins and Eric Devendorf, plus Flynn can shoot it from the perimeter and is a dangerous penetrator.
Plus, Syracuse has a major home-court advantage in the Carrier Dome, where 25,000 tickets had been sold by Friday afternoon. The noon start might hinder the crowds just a bit, but this will still be one of the bigger crowds in college basketball this regular season.
U of L always talks about winning with defense, and this one will have to be that kind of game.
It’s 18 degrees outside, but clear. And this promises to be a hot one.
C.L. Brown and I will be live-blogging throughout, so be sure to click the link above and join us.