Syracuse will play its first game in after the Christmas holiday when it hosts Cornell on Tuesday evening 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: Bill Courtney was dismissed at the end of last season after going 60-113 in six years in Ithaca. Enter Princeton playing legend and all-star assistant Brian Earl as the Big Red’s new head coach. As expected, Earl has slowed Cornell’s offensive pace somewhat, despite working talent designed for Courtney’s uptempo style. Cornell was projected to finish next-to-last (seventh) in the Ivy League in the conference preseason media poll, and for now, that seems about right. The Big Red’s best win so far is an 80-77 home win over Northeastern, although they gave USC a scare at the Galen Center last week, holding a 28-19 lead 11:56 into the first half before eventually losing 79-67.
TJO: Who are the stars on Cornell?
MT: Cornell’s personnel hasn’t changed much from last year. After leading the Ivy League in scoring as a freshman last season, Matt Morgan is doing the same comfortably so far in 2016-17, averaging 19.1 points per game. Morgan and senior guard Robert Hatter, the team’s third-leading scorer, are quite content to hoist three-pointers, and they’re dangerous when they get hot. Morgan in particular has a knack for drawing fouls and is comfortable controlling the offense. One major difference from last year’s squad is the emergence of sophomore center Stone Gettings, who has scored at least 22 points in three of Cornell’s past four contests and is a solid rebounder and passer. But Gettings is only 6-foot-8 and the Big Red remain an undersized unit without a true rim protector, and the team continues to struggle mightily with offensive rebounding and shot-blocking.
TJO: What are your predictions for the game?
MT: I expect Cornell to have to deal with an angry Orange bunch after Syracuse’s embarrassing 33-point loss to St. John’s at the Carrier Dome. The Big Red might very well keep the first half close with Morgan, Gettings and Hatter carrying the load in the first half, like they did at USC last week. But Syracuse will pull away, 80-62.