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Syracuse is scheduled to face Cornell on Wednesday night, a rescheduling of the two teams’ initial Dec. 21 matchup. The scheduling shift happened because of the Orange’s COVID-19 pause, one where head coach Jim Boeheim said 14 of 20 players and student managers tested positive. The Orange won their first game back from the pause on Monday night, a 31-point thrashing of Brown.
The Big Red will enter the Carrier Dome for the first time since 2019. SU won by 19 points that November night and Jimmy Boeheim — who’s since switched his red jersey out for an orange one — led all scorers with 25 points.
Here’s what our beat writers predict as Syracuse faces Cornell for its second game in three days on Wednesday night:
Andrew Crane (5-6)
Just what they needed
Syracuse 81, Cornell 67
If there were any concerns about Syracuse being rusty after its COVID-19 pause, the Orange — via a 93-point outburst — made sure they didn’t surface against Brown. Cornell enters Wednesday’s game off a lengthy pause of its own, and the Big Red haven’t defeated a team ranked inside the top 150, per KenPom. That, in and of itself, creates a scenario where SU cruises against its final nonconference opponent of the season. Cornell likes to play fast on offense and has the 18th-best effective field goal percentage in the country, per KenPom, but that should be a rate that SU, given its variety of scoring options in the starting lineup, can match.
The real questions and takeaways from this game will be determined by whether Buddy Boeheim and Cole Swider can once again string together strong games from beyond the arc and whether the defense can continue the slight progress it made on Monday. Look for Cornell to keep it close for most of the first half, just like the Bears did, until the Orange’s guards will help them pull away in the final 20 minutes, setting them up nicely for the return of ACC play against Virginia.
Roshan Fernandez (6-5)
It won’t get easier than this…
Syracuse 84, Cornell 70
Though Cornell enters its matchup in the Carrier Dome sitting at 8-2, the Big Red have only played against two Power Five opponents — both double-digit losses against Penn State and Virginia Tech. Cornell ranks outside the KenPom top 200, the easiest opponent remaining on Syracuse’s schedule. The Orange shot an impressive 61.9% from beyond the arc against Brown and got Buddy going with 28 points in 29 minutes. Swider shot 3-of-3 from deep, his first perfect game from 3-point range in a Syracuse jersey. Joe Girard III posted a season-high five steals and was one shy of tying his season-high in assists.
The Brown game should serve as a momentum builder for the Orange, and could potentially be the start of a mini winning streak that SU needs right now. It won’t get any easier than Cornell, and SU is more than capable of taking care of business just like it did on Monday.
Gaurav Shetty (6-5)
Jimmy Boeheim: Boy baller
Syracuse 96, Cornell 62
After beating Brown with ease, Syracuse welcomes Cornell to the Dome. The Big Red are ranked over 50 spots lower than the Bears on KenPom and sit well outside the top 200. If Syracuse beat Brown by 31 on Monday, the Orange should beat Cornell without any trouble. On the off chance that the Big Red does keep this game close, keep an eye out for their 3-point shooting. Cornell ranks 53rd on KenPom, shooting 36.6%, which caused serious issues for Syracuse when Colgate came to town for the upset. Boeheim has said all season that his defense is not good enough and even in the win against Brown pointed out that his players were not closing out on shooters well enough. Cornell will provide a solid test of the Syracuse defense before the Orange embark on ACC play as Jimmy and company should grab an easy victory over his old squad.
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