By Rico Lopez SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — The Orange are hosting the LSU Tigers for the first year of the annual ACC-SEC Challenge. This is only the second meeting between the two programs.
The last meeting dates back to February 16th, 1985. Coach Jim Boeheim was only 41 years old. Syracuse Hall of Famer Rafael Addison scored 25 points and snatched 8 boards and Orange legend Pearl Washington added 20 points in a 76 to 64 victory
38 years later, the matchup is much different.
Syracuse is entering a new era in basketball. A new coach in Adrian Autry, a star in Judah Mintz, and a myriad of transfers and recruited talent. Mintz is off to a fast start, averaging 18.3 points per game, 4.2 assists, and is making a huge impact defensively as he averages more than 2 steals per game.
However, the Orange are coming off two tough losses in the Maui Invitational, losing to 7-ranked Tennessee and 11-ranked Gonzaga and look to rebound at the JMA Wireless Dome.
“We’ll jump on the plane and head back. We’ll probably adjust our practice times to try to get back on East Coast time because we got a game, we got a quick turnaround,” said Head Coach Adrian Autry.
5-star transfer J.J. Starling played decently in the tournament, having two games with 5 assists and entered the double digits in points twice. The Orange also got strong performances from Justin Taylor and Chris Bell providing team defense, rebounding, and supplemental scoring next to Mintz and Starling.
The Orange are 4-2 this season, but so are LSU. Despite being at home, ESPN has Syracuse as underdogs, giving them a 47 percent chance to win. But fans feel differently.
“Our school spirit up here is next to none,” said Griffin Squires, Elmira native and Syracuse University student. “I’m sure these tigers won’t know it’s coming when they come in here. So it’ll be loud. It should be a good time and yeah, hopefully we can beat them.”
The fans are excited to show their school spirit.
“I feel like the dome should be rocking. It should be loud, should be packed. I’m really excited,” Syracuse student Andrew Bergman said. “I mean, games like this only come around once in a while. And every time the fans usually don’t disappoint. So it should be good”
If you can’t make the game, tune in at 7 p.m. on ESPN 2 or ACC Network.