Previewing Syracuse


The Tar Heels passed their first real test of the season Thursday and now face a tougher matchup in Friday's title game of the 2K Sports Classic -- Syracuse. Tip-off at Madison Square Garden is scheduled for around 7:15 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN2.

North Carolina (4-0) vs. Syracuse (3-0)
New York, N.Y. - Madison Square Garden
7:15, ESPN2 (Dan Shulman, Dick Vitale, Bob Knight, Doris Burke)


"I think we have a good chance of being a very good basketball team. I just want it to come sooner than it is coming to us." -- UNC coach Roy Williams

"Everybody is so unselfish. Everybody is going within the offense. And we have a great identity as a hard-working defensive team." -- Syracuse guard Andy Rautins


Season to Date: An exhibition loss to LeMoyne on Nov. 3 raised serious concerns, but blowout wins over Albany and Robert Morris followed and just over two weeks later that preseason loss seemed a distant memory as the Orange dismantled California in Thursday's 2K Sports Classic semifinal. Point guard Scoop Jardine led the way against Cal, posting 22 points, six rebounds, six assists and four steals.

The Zone: The zone defense is a staple of head coach Jim Boeheim's program. With size and length extending out to the perimeter, passing lanes and open shots can be tough to find - and California's small lineup built around outside shooting was the perfect matchup for Syracuse. "Our zone is designed to be effective against three-point shots," Boeheim noted postgame.

Impact Transfer: Jardine captured the MSG spotlight on Thursday, but Syracuse's most versatile - and arguably most dangerous - weapon is Wesley Johnson, who transferred in from Iowa State. An athletic and long 6-7 forward, Johnson is a tough matchup on either end of the floor. He leads the Orange in points (14.7), rebounds (7.3), steals (3.3) and blocks (3.0)

Series History: UNC leads the all-time series with Syracuse 4-2, with the last meeting being a 96-93 overtime win for No. 1 UNC over No. 3 Syracuse in Nov. 21, 1987.

Projected Starters:
11 Scoop Jardine (6-2, 190, So.) – 13.3 ppg, 6.3 apg
1 Andy Rautins (6-4, 195, Sr.) – 10.0 ppg, 47.4% 3pt
4 Wesley Johnson (6-7, 205, Jr.) – 14.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg
00 Rick Jackson (6-9, 240, Jr.) – 9.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg
21 Arinze Onuaku (6-9, 261, Sr.) – 13.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg

Top Reserves:
32 Kris Joseph (6-7, 207, So.) – 8.0 ppg, 6.0 ppg
25 Brandon Triche (6-4, 198, Fr.) - 9.7 ppg, 3.7 apg
3 Mookie Jones (6-6, 220, Fr.) – 6.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg

SU Info
Roster & Bios

Photo Gallery

Johnson ... Jardine

Onuaku ... Rautins

Jackson ... Joseph Recommended Stories

  • Mack Hollins has a way, it seems, of getting people’s attention.

  • Inside Carolina takes an in-depth look at Virginia, as the Cavaliers will try to snap their four-game losing streak against UNC when the Coastal Division rivals take the Scott Stadium field on…

  • CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The running back talks about getting his first touchdown of the season and how the RB group has handled the adversity they've faced this season.

  • The Thursday night showdown between the Broncos and Chargers at Mile High Stadium (sponsorship withstanding) could see passing yardage a half mile long. Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers are at the top…

  • Every week, Fantasy Football Expert Rob Warner recommends a handful of players who should ride the pine. It may be because of a bad matchup, lost playing time, a nagging injury or an overwhelming…

Up Next


2,326 Fans online