Pregame Buzz: Virginia Tech at Syracuse

The buzz of New York City's sport scene has always been Madison Square Garden, and Syracuse gets to represent the state against Virginia Tech in the NIT Season Tip-Off semifinals. The winner will face Stanford, who beat Oklahoma State earlier in the evening.

The Hokies easily present the biggest threat of any of SU's previous four opponents thus far in the 2011-12 campaign. Dorenzo Hudson presents a big problem as far as scoring is concerned, and he looks like a force after missing a chunk of last season with a foot injury. The redshirt senior has scored more points as the young season has progressed, and he dropped 31 points on Florida International last week.

Syracuse will have its hands full with Hudson, but the Hokies are deeper this season than in years passed. Dorian Finney-Smith has been impressive early on in his career, especially on the block, and Erick Green also looks healthy after missing some time with an Achilles' issue.

For the Orange, the key will be on the defensive end as usual. The offense will eventually take care of itself even after a slow start as the team has shown this season. If the combination of man and zone is used correctly by coach Jim Boeheim and executed well, SU should be able to squeeze out a win.

Players to Watch

Hudson is the best pure scorer Tech has to offer, and he is just two years removed from All-ACC honors. As long as Syracuse forces him to become a volume shooter to get his points, a victory for the No. 5 Orange will come as expected.

For ‘Cuse, keep an eye on Rakeem Christmas. The freshman forward has shown early flashes of what made him such a highly-touted prospect, but he has yet to put a complete game together on both ends of the floor. Christmas has started every game, and has seen time as center when Boeheim elects to pressure the opponent or run a small lineup. That may well happen again tonight, so the rookie should get the chance to make a big impact.


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