Game 8: No. 14 Syracuse (6-2) vs. Colgate (2-5)
All-time series: Syracuse leads 122-45
Date: Tuesday, Dec. 8th
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Location: Carrier Dome
After starting the season with six straight wins, the Syracuse Orange have lost back-to-back games to then 4-3 Wisconsin and archrival Georgetown, then 3-3. This came on the heels of taking out two ranked teams on the way to the Battle 4 Atlantis championship and shooting up to No. 14 in the national polls. After dropping the two games last week, Syracuse fell out of the polls on Monday. The Orange will look to get back to their winning ways against in-state foe Colgate Tuesday night in the Carrier Dome.
The Raiders have struggled early this season dropping five of their first seven games. This will be Colgate's fifth game against in-state teams, against whom they are 0-4 on the season. After facing off against the Orange, Colgate will take on two Division III schools in Utica and Keuka, both midseason exhibition games. Then, Colgate will travel to another ACC team in Georgia Tech before starting Patriot League action.
Three things to watch
1. Bounce Back After dropping back-to-back games, the Orange need to get back into a groove against a lesser opponent. Even though the final score was 79-72, it wasn't that close. At one point, the Orange trailed by 20, and only got as close as they did because of the scoring of Michael Gbinije who poured in 23 against the Hoyas. That marked his fourth game with 20 or more. Gbinije leads Syracuse and is fourth in the ACC with 20.0 points per game. They will need more of that if the Orange want to get back on track and stay competitive in the tough ACC.
2. Win One For Jim Less than 48 hours before the Georgetown game, the NCAA announced Jim Boeheim's nine-game suspension would begin immediately instead of waiting until the start of ACC play. While the Orange dropped the first game of Boeheim's absence, Mike Hopkins did an admirable job as interim head coach. A tough, emotional game was not what the Orange wanted in that first game, and Colgate is just what the doctor ordered. This should be an easy win for Syracuse and give Hopkins his first win leading the charge.
3. Show Off Inside Even though the Orange don't have size on most teams they will play this year, the Raiders are not most teams they will play. Colgate has just five players at 6-6 or taller. All of Syracuse's starters other than Trevor Cooney are 6-7 or taller. This will be one of the few chances Syracuse has this year to pound the post and get the ball inside to DaJuan Coleman, Malachi Richardson, and Tyler Lydon. This game should give the team confidence moving forward that they can play inside and get something going moving forward.