Inclement weather in San Diego forced the Battle on the Midway to be pushed back two days, but Syracuse and San Diego State will tip off on Sunday on board the USS Midway.
Following one of the best regular seasons in school history last season, Jim Boeheim's Syracuse squad has a lot of work to do in 2012. The Orange start the season ranked No. 9 in both the USA Today and AP Top 25 polls.
Who Is The Better Team Entering The Season?
San Diego State is coming off an impressive 26-win campaign last year. The Aztecs start this season ranked No. 20 in both polls. A game against one of the best teams in the Big East is a great test for this team right out of the gate.
Where: USS Midway in San Diego, CA
When: Sunday, November 11 at 4:00 p.m. ET
Watch: FOX (Coverage varies; Check local listings)
What's At Stake?
These two teams find themselves in very different situations to start the season.
Syracuse is bringing a lot of new faces into the mix after losing key players from last year's team, including Dion Waiters, Scoop Jardine and Fab Melo. This game will be a good test to see where this new group is at right now.
San Diego State returns its top four scorers from last season. The Aztecs have the benefit of experience and camaraderie heading into this game. A win here would be a huge confidence boost for this team.
What They Are Saying
Even with all the turnover at Syracuse this season, head coach Jim Boeheim had glowing reviews for the players who returned and the talent that came in.
Via the Associated Press (h/t Utica Observer-Dispatch):
We’ve never had a team, that I can remember, lose this many guys who were such important parts of what we did, and if we had a team that had lost even close to what this team did, we certainly weren’t picked in the top 20 the next year.
That's certainly one of the advantages of having a reputation like Boeheim's and being one of the most prestigious basketball programs in the country. You can lose four starters and still be a top-10 team.
If San Diego State went through that kind of change, there is no way it would come close to sniffing a national ranking.
Another fun item comes courtesy of Aztweets, who provided a look at the court San Diego State and Syracuse will be playing on.
The court is down on the Midway! twitter.com/AztecJ/status/…— Aztweets (@AztecJ) November 7, 2012
Syracuse Player to Watch: PG Michael Carter-Williams
As the Orange begin their quest towards a Big East title, in their final season in the conference, Michael Carter-Williams has the unenviable task of taking over the starting point guard job from Scoop Jardine.
Jardine was never the most talented player Boeheim ever had, but he had a knack for making big plays and stepping up in situations when the team needed a leader.
Carter-Williams doesn't have to be the next Jardine, just handle the offense without making mistakes. The sophomore has to adapt quickly to get a hold of this offense.
San Diego State Player to Watch: G Chase Tapley
Even though Jamaal Franklin led the Aztecs in scoring last season, it was Tapley who proved to be their most consistent shooter. He finished second on the team with 15.8 points per game while shooting 46 percent from the field and 43 percent from three-point range.
The Aztecs are not an explosive offensive team, so it is imperative that the shooters they do have knock down shots early and often against an always-tough Syracuse zone defense.
This might be one of the most difficult early-season predictions to make. Syracuse has more talent, at least on paper. But we have no idea how all the pieces will fit until we see them in action.
San Diego State is a very good team that has been playing together for a couple of years. Do you go with a lot of talent and limited experience or good talent and a lot of experience?
San Diego State 66, Syracuse 62