The South Florida Bulls will try to prevent Jim Boeheim from picking up career victory No. 904 as the seventh-ranked Syracuse Orange invade the Sun Bowl for a Big East battle.
Syracuse began its conference slate by defeating Rutgers, 78-53, which put Boeheim alone in second place on the all-time Division I wins list. The triumph over the Scarlet Knights was the third in a row for the Orange, who won their only true road game at Arkansas (91-82) on Nov. 30. Syracuse is leading the Big East in scoring with 81.7 ppg and also in field goal percentage defense (.351).
Stan Heath's Bulls won a school record 12 Big East games last season and they are entering this year's slate with a 9-3 record, which is two wins ahead of the pace of that NCAA Tournament team. South Florida picked up its fourth win in a row on Wednesday with a 65-56 decision over UCF. USF has the lowest scoring offense in the Big East at 66.5 ppg, but it allows just 60.2 ppg on the other end.
This will be the 11th meeting in history between these schools. Syracuse owns a 9-1 all-time series lead after its 56-48 decision in last season's bout.
The Orange took down Rutgers in their Big East opener after they produced a 21-0 run to end the first half. Syracuse shot 45.9 percent from the floor and went 9-of-22 from beyond the arc on its way to the 25-point decision. Brandon Triche led the way on the historic night at the Carrier Dome, making five 3- pointers en route to 25 points. Michael Carter-Williams added a double-double with 12 points and 10 assists. Triche is pacing the team with 14.6 ppg and Carter-Williams is averaging a double-double with 12.2 points and a national- best 10.1 assists per outing. James Southerland (13.4 ppg, 4.9 rpg) and C.J. Fair (12.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg) are frequently benefiting from Carter-Williams's elite passing skills.
Syracuse had trouble slowing down Temple's senior point guard Khalif Wyatt in its lone setback. It may face a similar circumstance against the Bulls with Anthony Collins running the show. Collins scored 16 points and dished out 10 assists against UCF to register his fourth double-double of the season and raised his averages to 10.2 points and 7.8 assists per game. Toarlyn Fitzpatrick (11.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg), Victor Rudd (11.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg), and Jawanza Poland (11.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg) have been taking turns leading the Bulls in scoring.