Syracuse students agree: This should be a win, but no easy games in the league.
Rutgers comes in the Dome with a 13-12 (4-9) record, but they are playing far better at this point in the season than they were earlier (like every other team in the league). They only lost by two to St. John's in the Garden, only lost at Notre Dame by seven, and they beat Villanova by one at the RAC. But let's get real for a minute. Syracuse is 21-1 in the Carrier Dome versus Rutgers all time and Jim Boeheim has never lost to Rutgers at home. Syracuse has also won the last ten in a row. Rutgers has only one scorer in double figures with Jonathan Mitchell averaging 14.9ppg and hitting 42.3% from behind the arc. Everyone else on the team scores less than ten. Mitchell also leads the team in rebounding with 5.9ppg. He has been playing great lately, averaging 23.5ppg over his last four. If you limit Mitchell you beat Rutgers. And Rutgers is far more careless with the ball than Syracuse in recent history. The Scarlet Knights turned the ball 42 times in the last two games against the Orange. With Syracuse earning 8.7 steals per game this season, second best in the league, the Knights will have their hands full. Obviously if Mitchell can get open and find shots Rutgers will have a chance, but literally having to cover one guy to start the game should not be an issue for Syracuse. The Orange have a huge rebounding edge with Jackson and Keita. Earning rebounds off of Rutgers misses will always help, especially if Syracuse gets into a scoring drought. Even if Syracuse gets in trouble, talent should carry them late in this game. Look for this one to be close in the first half, but Syracuse should pull away in the second half to earn a double digit win. I like the Orange by 13.