|College Basketball Preview: Syracuse at Marquette|
|Written by TheSpread|
|Sunday, 07 January 2007 05:09|
Public Bettors Not Giving Syracuse a Chance, Their Pick - Marquette
82% of Bets Placed on Marquette -3.5 | Matchup | CBB Picks
On Thursday, Marquette (13-3, 0-1 Big East) played without starting guard Jerel McNeal, who did not make the trip to Providence after suffering a concussion in practice Monday when he and Wesley Matthews knocked heads in a rebounding drill. It was tough to determine how much impact Matthews could have made, as Marquette lost 74-59 in its conference opener to a Friars team that was also short-handed - playing without leading scorer and point guard Sharaud Curry.
"He brings a lot of toughness and fierceness to the table ... such a huge part of our toughness package," Marquette coach Tom Crean said of McNeal, who is second on the team in scoring at 14.5 points and averages a team-leading 3.4 steals.
"Providence is a very aggressive, tough-minded team - as is the rest of the Big East. We've got to join that party."
Matthews scored 14 points and Dominic James added 12, but the two combined to shoot just 9-for-29 from the field as the Golden Eagles shot just 31.1 percent (19-for-61) overall. Without McNeal's slashing capabilities to stretch the defense, Marquette made just 4 of 23 shots from 3-point range, with James going 1-for-8.
McNeal's status has not been determined for this game, and David Cubillan - a freshman - likely would start again in his place if McNeal is unable to play. Cubillan has averaged 4.9 points and shot 45.5 percent from 3-point range this season, but was 1-for-7 from the field and 1-for-5 from 3-point range in Thursday's defeat.
Syracuse (11-4, 0-1) has been using its 2-3 defense for the better part of the last 10 years to frustrate opponents, but this season, that zone has also allowed Boeheim to use what is now a seven-man rotation due to injuries and the departure of freshman Mike Jones without fatiguing his players.
But the Orange are trying to regroup after a 74-66 home loss to No. 10 Pittsburgh on Thursday. Eric Devendorf came off the bench to score 17 points for Syracause, which played well in the first half but never recovered from a 7-0 run by the Panthers at the outset of the second half.
Demetris Nichols, who averages a team-high 19.2 points, was held to 11 on 4-for-15 shooting, ending his streak of 20-point games at six. Syracuse also struggled from the perimeter, going 5-for-19 from 3-point range, and is 10-for-39 from beyond the arc the last two games after making 10 of 18 in a win against Hofstra.
``It's just one game,'' Nichols said. ``The shots that I missed tonight I know they're going to go down (next time). It was one of those nights. We need to execute our offense. There were times tonight that we broke down.''
This is the first time this season the Orange - who are 0-3 against ranked opponents - are playing outside the state of New York and just their second outside the Carrier Dome. The other contest was an 81-71 win over Canisius at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo.
Due to the unbalanced schedule used by the Big East for last season and this season following its expansion to 16 teams, the two schools did not play each other in 2005-06. Syracuse leads the all-time series 3-2, but the teams have not played since the Orange recorded a 71-53 win at home in 1985.
by: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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