Syracuse students agree: Hey Murph.
Eastern Michigan on New Year's Eve doesn't seem that exciting. And really, it probably won't be. But hey, friend of the program Rob Murphy is still coaching Eastern Michigan and this game features both teams playing 2-3 Zone, so that's exciting, right?
Besides Syracuse and other top tier teams that were in serious early tournaments, Eastern Michigan has had a murder's row of non-conference games. They played UMass, Duke, Kentucky, and now Syracuse. They lost all of those other games by the way. This will be a game to see if Syracuse can handle playing against a team that switches from MANTOMAN (as Raf would say) to 2-3 Zone. But it will probably be mostly zone. Da'Shonte Riley, former Orangeman, is centering the zone at 7' tall. Fun fact: He wears Nike shoes even though they are an Addidas school because he started at Syracuse. Anyway, this game will ride on the same fact that Syracuse gambles on when they play a team with a hot shooter. Will Trevor Cooney score open three point field goals? If he can, it will open up the zone for CJ, Grant, and Ennis to run wild. If he can't, Syracuse should still be more athletic and win the game, they just won't score as much and it will be closer for longer. Either way, I think Cooney will be closely guarded but there will be lapses like against Villanova. He'll get hot, and it will go like I predict. I'm picking Syracuse by 24.
This game is available nationwide on ESPN U and Watch ESPN at 3:00pm. From all of us here at Orange::44 have a very happy, safe, and merry New Year!