Syracuse will play its first game in six days when it hosts Cornell on Saturday afternoon at the Carrier Dome. To get us prepped for the game, we sat down with our friend Michael Tony over at IvyHoopsOnline to get a scouting report for the upcoming game. Also check out TJO’s Syracuse scouting report for this matchup at Ivy Hoops Online.
The Juice Online: Tell us about IvyHoopsOnline.
Michael Tony: IvyHoopsOnline is a blog that has provided a colorful take on Ivy League basketball since 2011, with a dozen writers who love reading the Ivy tea leaves.
TJO: What are the major story lines with Cornell?
MT: On a macro level, nothing great. Sixth-year Cornell coach Bill Courtney is on the hot seat with a 55-99 (.357) record in Ithaca and the Big Red remaining the only Ivy program not to make the postseason during his tenure. Courtney’s teams have always struggled to find the right personnel to carry out his “havoc” system at both ends of the floor. So far this season, despite the solid 5-4 record, the Big Red rank last among Ivies in defense, rebounding margin, assists per game and assist to turnover ratio. The Big Red are a young squad with ball discipline issues and an undersized frontcourt.
TJO: Who are the stars on Cornell?
MT: Junior guard Robert Hatter has exploded this season, and he’s only getting hotter. He has averaged 30.5 points, six rebounds, 4.5 assists and three steals per contest in Cornell’s two games so far this month, wins over Siena and Lafayette. His Twitter handle is @HatterForThree, and that should tell you something about Hatter’s game and why he’s easily the leading scorer in the Ivy League this season. He’s made 18 of his 41 three-point field goals so far, a 43.9 percent clip that should indicate he’s good at creating open looks for himself and drilling shots even when contested. Hatter leads the Ivy League in assists too, though, so he’s anything but a black hole. Freshman guard Matt Morgan ranks second for the Big Red in scoring at 14.4 points per game and is already an established playmaker in this offense who has displayed a knack for getting to the line.
TJO: What are your predictions for the game?
MT: Earlier this season, Cornell played at Pitt, obviously a Syracuse rival and comparable program to the Orange. Pitt held the Big Red to 19 points in the first half, with its frontcourt outscoring Cornell’s frontcourt 46-7. No Big Red players scored in double figures, and Pitt won, 93-49. I expect a similar field day for Syracuse against Cornell. You mentioned the Orange have also struggled in the rebounding department, but if it falters in that area against what was projected to be the worst team in the Ivy League – and what has been the worst rebounding team in the Ivies – they’ve got issues. I predict Syracuse does outmuscle Cornell early and often, 91-67.