Syracuse Orange vs. Canisius Golden Griffins Pick & Prediction NOVEMBER 8th 2023

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Even without Jim Boeheim on the sidelines, his presence was still felt in Syracuse’s season-opening victory.

The Orange and their new coach, Adrian Autry, look to post another win Wednesday when they host Canisius.

Autry, a former player and assistant under Boeheim, had repeatedly stated his intent to move away from the 2-3 zone defense patented by Boeheim during his 47 seasons at the helm. However, in Monday’s season opener against New Hampshire, Autry switched to zone during the second half to help hold off the Wildcats.

“Thank god for the 2-3 zone,” Autry said after the 83-72 victory. “We actually started practicing the zone sometime last week. We knew that we would need it. We were fortunate we got six or seven guys that know the zone, that played it last year. So that helped us out a lot.”

Among the Syracuse players who were familiar with Boeheim’s zone concepts were Judah Mintz, who led the team with 20 points, and Justin Taylor, who contributed 12 of his 14 points after halftime.

The Orange (1-0) did not shoot particularly well from the field (41.8 percent) or the 3-point line (5 of 21) in Monday’s win. Of note, highly regarded transfer J.J. Starling struggled to the tune of 3-of-13 shooting, including 0-for-4 from long distance.

Syracuse will aim for a crisper shooting display against a Canisius team that it has beaten 21 straight times, although the teams have not met since December 2012.

The Golden Griffins are coming off a season in which they went 10-20, including an 8-12 record in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. They won five of six down the stretch before falling to Mount St. Mary’s at the buzzer in the conference tournament.

This year, Canisius was picked to finish third in the MAAC in the coaches’ preseason poll. Sophomore guard Tahj Staveskie and junior forward Xzavier Long were named to the league’s preseason second and third teams, respectively.

In their lone exhibition game, the Golden Griffins defeated Toronto Metropolitan 97-74 on Oct. 21.

“We had some jitters early and some sloppiness late,” said coach Reggie Witherspoon, “but overall it was what we needed.”

–Field Level Media

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