The Orange, coming off its best win of the early season, a 72-68 victory over then-No. 9 Florida, will play Marshall on Tuesday night.
CONFERENCE USA POWER: Memphis may be the class of C-USA, but the Thundering Herd have the ingredients to compete for the conference championship in Tom Herrion’s second year at the helm. Some of the preseason hype was confirmed when Marshall upset the Cincinnati Bearcats—in Cincinnati—in a 73-69 overtime win on Nov. 25. The Herd improved to 5-0 in that game, the first time Marshall has posted that record since the 1999-2000 season when it started 10-0.
SCOUTING THE THUNDERING HERD: The starting backcourt for Marshall is as good as any in Conference USA. DeAndre Kane (15.8 ppg, 3.3 apg) and Damier Pitts (13.5 ppg, 4.7 apg) are the top two scorers on the team. Kane is also aggressive on the backboards, and is second on the team with 5.2 rebounds per game. But the 6-foot-4 sophomore can be out of control, both in temperament and on the court. His assist-to-turnover ratio is 1:1 coming into this game (he had 115 turnovers to 117 assists in his freshman season), and he led C-USA last year with seven technical fouls. Like Syracuse, Marshall has depth, with eight different players averaging more than 10 minutes a game.
IN MARSHALL’S LAST GAME: Marshall lost a heartbreaker to Ohio, 70-68. With 7:35 left in the game, the Thundering Herd trailed 63-49. But Marshall mounted a furious rally and was down by just two points with 15 seconds left. The Herd forced a turnover, and Kane had a chance to send the game to overtime. But his game-tying shot missed as time expired, handing Marshall its first loss of the season.
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: The last time these two teams played was in 1947-48 season with Marshall winning, 46-44.
GAME INFORMATION: Tuesday, Dec. 6, 7:00 p.m. Syracuse, NY. TV: Time Warner Cable Sports/SNY.Wesley Cheng