No. 4 Syracuse will look to give head coach Jim Boeheim his 899th win when it hosts the Canisius Golden Griffins on Saturday. Here is a scouting report for the game:
LIKE FATHER…: Former Rhode Island coach Jim Barron had one of his worst seasons as a coach with the Rams last year. His team nosedived to a 7-24 record and won just four times in Atlantic 10 play. That led to Barron’s dismissal after he had won 184 games and made six postseason appearances with URI in 11 seasons. He was hired by Canisius over the summer and has led a renaissance. At 6-1, the Golden Griffins are off to their best start since the 1973-74 campaign. They’re also 2-0 in the MAAC after Canisius drained a school-record 17 shots from downtown in a 94-82 win over Marist. Pretty good for a team that was picked to finish 9th in the conference after a 5-25 (1-17 MAAC) season.
SCOUTING THE GOLDEN GRIFFINS: The biggest reason for the team’s hot start comes from Barron’s youngest son, Billy (his older brother, Jimmy, also played for Barron at Rhode Island and now plays professionally overseas). Naturally, Billy transferred from Rhode Island after his father was dismissed, but wanted to see what else was out there. He landed a scholarship offer from Purdue, a Power 5 conference team. But seeing more opportunity in staying with a mid-major, Billy followed his father to the Griffins, and has not regretted it. So far, he’s averaged 17.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 6.0 assists, and was just named MAAC Player of the Week. He was also given the Lou Henson Award “Player of the Week” Honors, presented annually to the top Mid-Major player in Division I college basketball.
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: Syracuse holds a 45-24 lead in the all-time series, and has not lost dating back to the 1976 season. The last time these two teams met was on Nov. 14, 2010, with a 86-67 win for the Orange. Rick Jackson led five players in double figures with 17 points and pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds.
GAME INFORMATION: Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, 7 p.m. at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY. TV: SNY.Wesley Cheng