The Orange, fresh of its first true road win of the season, will head home to play Patriot League champion Bucknell.
PATRIOT LEAGUE ELITE: Bucknell ran away with the Patriot League last year, going 13-1 in conference play before losing to eventual champion Connecticut in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Although they are just 7-4 out of the gates this year, keep in mind that the Bison were sub .500 coming out of non-conference play last year. Most of that team comes back this season, and as a result, Bucknell was unanimously picked as the preseason favorite by the league’s head coaches.
SCOUTING THE BISON: Coach Dave Paulsen returns four starters from last year’s team, many of them among the Patriot League’s best. For starters, there is 6-11 junior Mike Muscala, last year’s Patriot Player of the Year. Joining him is two-time PL defensive player of the year Bryan Cohen and the league’s top 3-point shooter, Bryson Johnson.
IN BUCKNELL’S LAST GAME: Muscala had 22 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks for the Bison as they topped Richmond, 79-65. Bucknell trailed at halftime 31-27 before shooting 70 percent from the field in the second half to rally for the win.
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: You may remember Syracuse playing Bucknell in a Midwest Regional game in the 1989 NCAA tournament in Dallas. No. 2 seed Syracuse, behind 27 points from Billy Owens and 21 from Stevie Thompson, cruised by 15th-seeded Bucknell 104-81. SU is 8-1 all time against the Bison, losing the last game, 74-69, at the Carrier Dome on Nov. 22, 2005.
GAME INFORMATION: Tue, Dec 20, 7 p.m. Time Warner Cable Sports/SNY. Syracuse, NY.Wesley Cheng