Gophers-Syracuse game preview

  • Updated: November 24, 2013 - 11:53 PM

Syracuse’s C.J. Fair

4:30 p.m. vs. No. 9 Syracuse • Maui Invitational • ESPN2, 1500-AM

Gophers at a glance: Unbeaten at 5-0, Minnesota has been rolling, most recently routing Wofford on Thursday. All five starters are averaging at least 9.6 points per game, with Andre Hollins averaging 18.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. Center Mo Walker will be serving the final game of his six-game suspension against Syracuse. Forward Joey King, who missed Thursday’s game because of a fractured jaw, practiced Sunday but is still questionable. Considering that the frontcourt has been so thin, the rebounding effort has been impressive, with the Gophers outrebounding opponents by 7.4 boards a game. The Gophers are 1-0 all-time against Syracuse with the only meeting occurring in the Sweet 16 of the 1990 NCAA tournament.

Syracuse at a glance: If Gophers fans have caught any Syracuse game this season, it might just happen to be the Orange’s most recent one, against St. Francis. Syracuse nearly took its first loss, eventually sliding past the Terriers 56-50. But no one smart would sleep on the Orange (4-0), which is ranked No. 9 in the nation. It has one of the best frontcourts in the country, which should give the Gophers plenty of stress. Senior 6-8 forward C.J. Fair anchors the bunch after foregoing the NBA draft and is averaging 18 points and 5.5 rebounds a game. The Orange blocks a lot of shots (19), gets a lot of steals (48) and has turned over opponents 70 times. The Orange is returning to Hawaii for the first time since the 1998-99 season. Syracuse has appeared in the Maui Invitational twice and won the event both times.

AMELIA RAYNO

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