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Tuesday, December 30, 2008


December 30, 2008

Syracuse begins conference play at the Carrier Dome tonight when they host Seton Hall at 7 PM.

The 13th-ranked Orange are expected to have Eric Devendorf back in their line-up tonight. Devendorf, who missed the entire conference season last year with a knee injury, missed the last two games (wins at Memphis and vs. Coppin State) after a student judiciary board suspended him for the remainder of the academic year (through Spring of '09) for an altercation with a female student in the early morning hours of November 1st. The Syracuse Appeals Board withheld his suspension, however, they ammended the length and allowed Devendorf to apply for reinstatement after completing community service and other requirements. It appears as everything is in order and Devendorf, who averages 14 points a game, will return to action tonight.

For Seton Hall, their depleted line-up takes a new twist tonight as head coach Bobby Gonzalez will serve a one-game suspension following his outbursts in a regular season loss last season to Rutgers in the final game of Big East conference play in the 2007-2008 campaign. Gonzo's sideline antics have always been a point of contention with officials and administrators and his post-game remarks infuriated Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese. Before the conference acted, the SHU athletic department imposed a one-game Big East suspension on their coach.

Here are some pregame previews and stories found on the web this morning:

Syracuse Hosts Seton Hall in Big East Opener (
SU's Second Season Gets Started Tonight (Syracuse Post-Standard)
Orange Scouting Report: SU vs. SHU (Post-Standard)
Beasts of the East ( - with a SHU-SU preview about halfway in

The odds makers have the Orange listed as 13 1/2-point favorites to run away from the Pirates.

Seton Hall is a painfully think team and with the injury to John Garcia that is likely to keep him out of action tonight, they have virtually no inside game. Paul Harris and Arinze Omuaku should dominate the boards and with SU having athletic options off the bench that include freshmen Mookie Jones and Kris Joseph, they can go smaller, but still be quite a bit bigger than SHU. The emergence of sophomore Rick Jackson also makes the SU zone longer and bigger on the baseline.

The Pirates will most likely be forced by the SU zone to sit on the perimeter and launch three-pointers. Sophomore Jeremy Hazell might find that to his liking and the streak shooter gets more than enough shots to find a groove in nearly every game with the limited options of the Pirates. The key will be how point guard Eugene Harvey attacks the zone and manages the offense, which at times, you wonder if the Pirates have an offensive system, especially in the half court, and that does not bode well against the zone defense of SU, unless they are hitting a high volume of three's.

After losses last week to IUPUI and James Madison, the SHU faithful got something to cheer about with a blowout of in-state foe FDU on Saturday, 101-70, when Jeremy Hazell pumped in 35 points. SHU finished the pre-conference schedule at 9-3 and the fanbase would love a reason to begin scooping up Seton Hall tickets for future games. it will be a tough task to give them a reason with a win tonight in the Dome.

NBE Blogger Prediction:

Syracuse 84
Seton Hall 68



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