Cardinal and Orange meet for NIT Season Tip-Off title

The fifth-ranked Syracuse Orange and the Off title this evening at Madison Square Garden.

Jim Boeheim's Orange opened the season with four straight wins at home. They made it five in a row with Wednesday's 69-58 victory over Virginia Tech in the semifinal round of this event. Syracuse has now opened the season 5-0 for the eighth straight year.

Johnny Dawkins' Cardinal are also a perfect 5-0 on the year. The team has posted double-digit wins over all five foes thus far, including an 82-67 win over Oklahoma State on Wednesday in semifinal action.

This is the first time that these two teams have met on the hardwood.

Stanford has played well at both ends of the floor this season and boasts a +20.6 scoring margin as a result. The team is shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor (.494), while holding foes under 40 percent (.394). The scoring depth is primarily three deep, led by Josh Owens and Aaron Bright at 14.0 ppg each. Owens is shooting a team-best .698 from the floor in the first five games, while Bright is the team's resident sniper, hitting 51.9 percent from behind the arc (14-of-27). Chasson Randle chips in with 10.4 ppg. In the win over Oklahoma State, it was the big three again leading the way. Owens poured in 21 points on 10-of-12 shooting from the field. Randle added 17 points and Bright had 15.

Kris Joseph and C.J. Fair each posted double-doubles. leading the Orange past the Hokies on Wednesday. Joseph finished with a season-high 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Fair tallied 12 points and a career-high 10 boards. The Orange trailed in the second half, but an 11-0 run put the Orange up for good and they never looked back. Syracuse has destroyed opponents at both ends of the floor in the early going and has a +28.2 scoring margin, averaging 85.8 ppg, while allowing a mere 57.6. Scoring depth is key with four players averaging double digits this season, including two bench players. Joseph leads the team, with 14.8 ppg, but is followed closely by Dion Waiters' 13.8 ppg. Jam Southerland and Brandon Triche round out the top scorers with 11.0 and 10.8 ppg, respectively.