Seton Hall-Syracuse Preview

Syracuse is used to using non-conference play to get off to a

fast start.

What it isn’t used to is losing at home by the margin it fell to

Seton Hall at the Carrier Dome last season.

The top-ranked Orange will try to halt the Pirates’ eight-game

win streak and earn a measure of revenge Wednesday night in the Big

East opener for both teams.

Syracuse has opened with 13 victories for the third straight

season, starting 18-0 a year ago.

Seton Hall (11-1) is off to its best start since the 1992-93

team began 13-1, and has won eight straight for the first time

since an 8-0 start two seasons ago.

The Orange are looking for payback after falling 90-68 at home

to the Pirates on Jan. 25, 2011. It marked Syracuse’s worst home

loss since an 85-61 defeat to Seton Hall on Feb. 7, 1998, and ended

the Pirates’ five-game overall slide in the series.

“We definitely owe them a better game than last year,” said

Orange guard Dion Waiters, who logged 14 scoreless minutes as a

freshman in that game. “I just can’t wait to get back out


The Pirates shredded the Orange’s 2-3 zone by shooting 54.1

percent, making 10 of 17 3-pointers. Jeremy Hazell, who has

graduated, led Seton Hall with 28 points and nine boards.

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim believes that the Pirates are even

better this year despite losing Hazell.

“They are playing great,” Boeheim said. “They are in the top-10

or 15 in the RPI. They came in here and beat us last year. They

have a very good team and it will be a challenge opening the Big


Syracuse is also a different team without Rick Jackson, who led

the Big East in rebounding last season with 10.3 per game.

Jackson won’t be around to try to contain an improved Herb Pope,

who is second in the conference in scoring (20.3 ppg) and

rebounding (11.4 rpg). Pope is averaging 13.0 points and 15.0

boards in three career games against the Orange.

“Herb Pope is having a great year,” Boeheim said. “He is one of

the best big guys in the country right now. They have good senior

leadership between him and Jordan Theodore. They have a good team –

a really good team.”

Theodore scored a career-high 26 points in Seton Hall’s final

tuneup, an 87-61 rout at Longwood last Friday. The final score was

lopsided after the Pirates took their first lead with 9:07

remaining before halftime.

Seton Hall’s superior talent was evident the rest of the way.

Fuquan Edwin tied his career high with 20 points on 9-of-12


The talent level can’t be questioned for Syracuse, which has won

11 games by double digits. The Orange are more concerned with their

youth as they play for the first time since last Thursday’s 80-61

win over Tulane.

“For the younger guys, they don’t really know what the Big East

is like, but they’ll learn soon enough,” said Kris Joseph,

averaging 14.5 points. “As far as us, as leaders, we just have to

prepare to win because we know what it’s going to be like. It’s

going to be a dogfight for the whole 40 minutes.”