(2) Syracuse (26-1) at Rutgers (12-14)
Sunday February 19th, 1:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Lucas Gulotta, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Rutgers Athletic Center (8,000) -- Piscataway, New Jersey. Television: ESPN. Home Record: Syracuse 17-0, Rutgers 10-5. Away Record: Syracuse 7-1, Rutgers 1-7. Neutral Record: Syracuse 2-0, Rutgers 1-2. Conference Record: Syracuse 13-1, Rutgers 4-9. Series Record: Syracuse leads, 37-9.
GAME NOTES: The second-ranked Syracuse Orange look to continue their best start in program history as they head to Piscataway to tangle with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in Big East action.
This will be the 47th meeting in the all-time series. Syracuse holds a 37-9 edge in the rivalry after it won its last 11 games with Rutgers.
Syracuse extended its winning streak to six games on Monday as it escaped its road game versus Louisville with a 52-51 victory. Jim Boeheim has led his team to sole possession of first place in the Big East as it has a 12-1 record in league play. The Orange's only loss this season was to Notre Dame, which they played without their center Fab Melo. Syracuse leads the league in scoring with an average of 76.1 ppg, and has held its opponents to 60.6 ppg.
The Orange have had all their success come this season through a total team effort. There is not any player on Syracuse with jaw-dropping statistics, but the team's play as a solidified unit has led to superb results. Kris Joseph leads Syracuse in scoring with 14.0 ppg on 43.9 percent shooting. The senior forward was held to just seven points his last time out as he attempted a mere five field goals versus Louisville. Dion Waiters averages a second-best 12.2 ppg, while Brandon Triche chips in 9.6 ppg. Scoop Jardine controls the offense for the Orange and leads it with 4.9 assists per contest. Melo anchors the patented 2-3 zone with 3.0 blocks per game.
Rutgers fell for the fourth straight game on Wednesday as it was bested 71-53 by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Scarlet Knights shot 39.3 percent from the field and slightly lost the rebounding battle 37-35 to Notre Dame in the loss. Second year head coach Mike Rice's Rutgers team is 12-14 and 4-9 in Big East action. The Scarlet Knights have not been overwhelming offensively, averaging just 65.7 ppg, and they have allowed opponents to outscore them with an average of only 64.3 ppg.
The Scarlet Knights are a very young team as no seniors receive significant playing time. Freshman guard Eli Carter leads the charge with a scoring average of 13.6 ppg. Carter has scored in double figures 20 times this season and ranks third among freshmen in scoring in league play. Myles Mack has been a very serviceable sixth man. In his last 16 games, Mack has netted 10.0 ppg off the bench. With Gilvydas Biruta providing size and scoring from the forward position and Dane Miller's energetic play on the wing, Rutgers has the tools to hang around with nearly anyone, but still lacks the experience.
Syracuse played poorly its last time out and still managed to knock off a nationally ranked program. Three of the four losses on Rutgers' losing streak have been by double figures. The Orange should be able to continue their journey towards the postseason today with relative ease.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Syracuse 80, Rutgers 65
02/19 10:32:43 ET