Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim will try to take over sole possession of No. 2 on the all-time wins list when he goes for win No. 903 against Rutgers to open conference play. Here is a scouting report:
RICE RETURNS: On Dec. 13, Mike Rice was suspended without pay, fined $50,000, and banned from any contact with the program for a violation of athletic department policy. Reportedly, it included Rice using foul language and inappropriate behavior, which included throwing basketballs at players’ heads during practice. Rice returned on Dec. 29, vowing change. “Whether it’s the teaching methods, whether it’s the discipline, I’ve thought about it a lot with the way I do things, the formula in which I do things, and well I’m going to use it as a positive,” Rice said to Matt Sugam of SNY.tv. “I’m going to change. I’m going to develop some of the things that I’m going to work on, whether it’s the language, whether it’s the behavior, I’m going to develop those things.” Rutgers, which is now 9-2, was 3-0 under acting head coach David Cox, including a 68-56 win over Rider on Friday.
SCOUTING THE SCARLET KNIGHTS: Rice was also saddened by his suspension because it took the spotlight away from his players, including guard Miles Mack. Rice specifically mentioned the 5’9″ sophomore’s stellar start to his season. Mack is shooting 58 percent from the field and 51 percent from downtown and is second on the team at 14.5 points per game. Fellow guard Eli Carter leads the team in scoring at 16.9 points a game. The Scarlet Knights are one of the deepest teams in the Big East, with 9 players averaging more than 14 minutes, and no player playing more than 29 minutes a game.
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: Syracuse is leading the all-time series 38-9, and has won each matchup between the two teams dating back to the 2003 season. The teams last played on Feb. 19, 2012, with the Orange winning 74-64. CJ Fair scored 21 points and added 8 rebounds off the bench. Scoop Jardine chipped in 17 points and 7 assists.
GAME INFORMATION: Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 at 7:00 at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY. TV: Big East Network/MSG/TWCS.