It is the battle of the unbeaten at the Dome on Wednesday night. The Toledo Rockets make the trek east to Syracuse with a perfect 3-0 record with wins over St. Joseph’s, Ohio Northern and Oakland. The Rockets have won each game by at least nine points and are coming off a 14-point victory over Oakland. Here is the most important things to know before tip-off in Syracuse.
Finishing the Busy Spell: After having the first two games of the season spread out, the Orange are in the middle of a very busy period of basketball. Wednesday will make Syracuse’s third game in five days. After Wednesday, the Orange are off until Monday, when they kick off the biggest stretch of non-conference games with match-ups against Maryland, UConn and Kansas. Surely every Syracuse fan expected the Orange to enter that stretch at 4-0 and the Orange are 40 minutes away from making that happen. The non-conference schedule has not been overly kind to the Orange the past couple of seasons, with the Orange dropping multiple games that everyone thought that they should have won, so nothing should be taken for granted.
Battle of the Guards: Unsurprisingly, Tyus Battle has taken over for the Orange in the early part of the season. Battle is shooting 53.3% from the field and averaging 23 points per game. Fellow guard Frank Howard has also stepped his game up and is one of the most important players on Syracuse’s roster. He is averaging 13.5 points per game this season (up from 4.5 ppg last season) and has improved in every notable category. The Rockets are a mirror image with their two starting guards cementing themselves as their top offensive players. Junior guard Jaelan Sanford is shooting over 54% from the field and is averaging 23.3 points per game. Senior guard Tre’Shuan Fletcher, who played his first three collegiate seasons at Colorado, is averaging exactly 20 points per game in just under 35 minutes. Fletcher is also averaging just shy of five assists per contest.
What is Vegas Saying: Here is your shock of the day (insert sarcasm font): Syracuse is a double-digit favorite at home. Syracuse comes in at a 13.5 point favorite and is looking to extend its streak of double-digit win to four.