Syracuse will continue its non-conference schedule when they host Princeton on Wednesday at 7 p.m. (to be aired on SNY). To get us prepped for the game, we sat down with our friend and former colleague Ian Halpern over at IvyHoopsOnline to get a scouting report for the upcoming game.
The Juice Online: Tell us about IvyHoopsOnline.
Ian Halpern: IvyHoopsOnline is made up of writers from each of the Ivy League’s eight schools. IHO came into existence in the summer of 2011 and has quickly made its mark on the tight-knit Ivy basketball community.
TJO: What is the major storyline around Princeton this year?
This year was expected to be yet another battle atop the league standings between Ancient Eight heavyweights Princeton and Harvard, but the defending champion Crimson saw its hopes take a hit with the withdrawal of captains Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry as a result of a 125-student academic scandal. The result for Princeton is that the Tigers are now the consensus favorites thanks to a wealth of returners, including preseason POY pick Ian Hummer. The real story for this team is whether or not they can produce enough offense, especially at the guard positions, when Hummer has an off night. Or, perhaps a more troubling question we have to ask after the Northeastern loss, can they produce enough when he has a good night?
TJO: Who should we watch out for?
IH: Ian Hummer is the go-to guy for this Princeton team. The 6′ 7″ senior forward is a strong scorer who finds a way to get to the rim and finish yet is also capable of knocking down a mid-range jumper. He’s not afraid to go right at a big, athletic team, which he proved last year in dropping a monster 25 points and 15 rebounds at Florida State in a triple overtime victory for the Tigers (highlights here). He played a whopping 53 minutes in that contest.
Will Barrett is another guy to keep your eye on. The 6′ 10″ forward can dial it up from long distance and still clean the glass like a traditional big man. Barrett missed last season with a foot injury, but made a statement in his first game back, with 20 points and 9 rebounds, not to mention burying a clutch three pointers in the closing seconds to seal the victory for the visiting Tigers. Anyway, the duo of Barrett and Hummer, two agile big guys, is a tough matchup for any team. If the Orange can hold one or both of these guys in check, Syracuse will have an excellent chance to quash any upset hopes early.
TJO: What are your predictions for the game?
IH: Princeton is going to do everything they can to slow this game down and play it at their speed. The Tigers are very comfortable in the half-court and have the size to grind it out against a more athletic squad like Syracuse. What the Tigers can’t do is let this game be played in transition. If Syracuse can get out and run, there’s no way Princeton will be able to keep up. Beyond the speed factor, I actually think Princeton matches up decently with Syracuse. The zone defense shouldn’t be too damaging to Princeton because they have big guys like Will Barrett who can shoot over the zone. I could also see Hummer really benefiting on the glass against a zone. My guess is that the Tigers keep it close for the first 10 minutes before slowly watching the game slip away in a 15-20 point defeat. Either way though, Hummer and Co. have to be excited to take a crack at such a storied program like Syracuse in the nation’s biggest arena.