Tigers set to play top-ranked 'Cuse

CLEMSON - There's more to Syracuse than the 2-3 zone that's been the signature of Jim Boeheim teams for the last couple of decades.

WHAT: Clemson at No. 1 Syracuse
WHERE: Syracuse, N.Y. - Carrier Dome
WHEN: Sunday, Feb. 9 (6:02 p.m.)
TV: ESPNU (Carter Blackburn, Jay Williams)

The Orange are pretty potent when they have the ball on the offensive end. Paced by the league's Preseason Player of the Year, C.J. Fair, Syracuse [22-0, 9-0 ACC] averages 71.8 points per game.

Fair [16.7] is one of four starters to average double-digits in scoring. Trevor Cooney is second on the team with 14.1, Jerami Grant is third with 12.8 and Tyler Ennis rounds out the foursome with 12.1.

"Their size and length is a problem. They're big at every position," said Brad Brownell, who's the first Clemson [15-6, 6-3 ACC] coach to play Syracuse at the Carrier Dome in school history.

"Ennis is great sized: 6-2, 6-3, plays with great poise, doesn't play like a young guard at all, tremendous feel for the game. Cooney can shoot the heck out of the ball."

Brownell said the Syracuse offensive philosophy is "a little more pro-style" than most college teams.

"It's not like they're plays are in-depth, and they don't need to be," he said. "They get C.J. Fair the ball in space and give him room to go make 1-on-1 plays, some of the same stuff we do for K.J. [McDaniels], similar things for them with C.J. Fair."

The offensive playbook consists of 12-15 plays, according to Brownell.

"They put their guys in situations, some ball screen situations to make reads," he said. "They get Cooney off screens, off ball screens. They have fair off all kinds of different action along the baseline in different spots, to get him the ball in space, and they do a little high-low stuff every once in a while for their post guys when they have matchup situations.

"It's not complicated, but it's good because it fits their personnel, which is what you want your offense to do."

The same can probably be said for the Orange on the defensive end. The 2-3 zone is so effective because it's what they recruit to.

"It's different if your guy at the wing is 6-5 and their guy at the wing is 6-8 or 6-9," Brownell said. "That's one of the reasons why their zone is better. Their zone is much bigger and more active with length. The second reason is they play it exclusively, so [Boeheim] knows how to coach it better than anybody, and so they adjust quickly."

Syracuse, 22-0 (9-0 ACC)
G #11 Tyler Ennis - 12.1 PPG, 5.7 APG (6-2, 180)
G #10 Trevor Cooney - 14.1 PPG, 2.0 RPG (6-4, 195)
F #5 C.J. Fair - 16.7 PPG, 5.9 RPG (6-8, 215)
F #3 Jerami Grant - 12.8 PPG, 7.0 RPG (6-8, 210)
F #25 Rakeem Christmas - 5.5 PPG, 4.4 RPG (6-9, 250)

Clemson, 15-6 (6-3)
G #12 Rod Hall - 9.0 PPG, 3.8 APG (6-1, 210)
G #3 Adonis Filer - 4.8 PPG, 1.4 APG (6-2, 190)
F #32 K.J. McDaniels - 16.3 PPG, 7.0 RPG (6-6, 200)
F #5 Jaron Blossomgame - 4.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG (6-7, 215)
C #35 Landry Nnoko - 5.9 PPG, 6.2 RPG (6-10, 250)

CUTigers.com Top Stories