Dec. 3 at Syracuse- The Eagles travel to Syracuse for their next game and it's going to be tough one. The Orange (4-0) boast one of the top programs in the country and Hall of Fame coach John Boeheim will look to keep his team unbeaten. The Carrier Dome is also one of the toughest venues to play at in all of college basketball. The Orange are led by senior forward James Southerland and senior guard Brandon Triche, who both lead the team with 15.3 points per game. Syracuse ranks 23rd nationally with 42 rebounds per game and should be a tough challenge for the Green and White.
Dec. 8 Purdue-The Boilermakers make a rare appearance at the Convocation Center, as the Eagles will try to upend Purdue at home. Purdue (2-3) has struggled out the gate, but has been a perennial NCAA tournament team under coach Matt Painter. If the Eagles are to pull the upset, they will need to stop junior guard Terone Johnson and his team leading 11.0 points per game. Purdue also ranks 16th nationally in rebounding with 42.4 per contest.
Dec. 15 at UIC-The Flames (4-1) will be a nice road test for the Eagles. UIC plays in the always deep Horizon League and should be a good early season measuring stick for Eastern. The Flames are led by senior guard Gary Talton (13.8 points, 5.4 rebounds) and junior forward Hayden Humes (13.0 points, 6.0 rebounds.) Already tested early, UIC's lone loss came against New Mexico 66-59 in mid Nov.
Dec. 20 at Michigan-The Wolverines (5-0) boast one of the most talented teams the Eagles will face all season. The Maize & Blue are the defending Big Ten Champions and are led by sophomore guard Trey Burke (16.4 points, 6.8 assists) and junior guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (18.2 points, 6.8 rebounds.) The Wolverines also counter with talented freshman-- forward Glenn Robinson III (12.4 points, 7.6 rebounds) and center Mitch McGary (5.0 points, 5.8 rebounds) that should give the EMU defenders fits all day.
If EMU is able to come through this schedule 2-2 that would be a huge for the team going forward. In all reality the most winnable game is at UIC. But the Eagles do have the luxury of playing Purdue at home. Upsets can happen, but it should be an interesting time to gauge the progress of the team going forward. Losing is never great, but keeping these games close could be a major victory for team moral.