Syracuse plays first true road game of season at Seton Hall

Syracuse Orange at Seton Hall Pirates, Prudential Center, Newark, NJ
Saturday, January 8, 2011, 12:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN3
Opening Line: Syracuse -6.5
Current Line: Syracuse -7.5
Opening Total: 137
Current Total: 136.5
Money Line: Syracuse -350 / Seton Hall +290

Seton Hall Syacuse College Basketball Preview
Kris Joseph & the Orange are unbeaten in January for the second year in a row

The fourth-ranked Syracuse Orange (15-0, 2-0 Big East) travel to Newark for their first true road game of the season on Saturday when they square off against the Seton Hall Pirates (7-8, 1-2).  The Orange (-7.5) are also leaving the state of New York for just the second time after beating Michigan and Georgia Tech in Atlantic City for the Legends Classic title at the end of November.

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim has been criticized at times for his scheduling, but nobody can deny the results as his team is unbeaten in January for the second year in a row.  Last season, the Orange started out 13-0 before falling at home to Pittsburgh on January 2, 82-72.

Seton Hall does not seem to pose the same challenge as the Panthers, although Syracuse is beginning a difficult two-week stretch that features three road games and three matchups against Top 25 conference opponents, including two in the Top 10.  The Pirates are returning home following two rough road losses at Louisville and Cincinnati that were decided by an average of 18 points.  They won their first Big East home game against South Florida on December 28, 64-55.

Syracuse has dominated Seton Hall in recent meetings, going 4-0 straight-up and against the spread in the last four games between the teams.  The average margin of victory for the Orange in those games is 14.5 points, and the last meeting was the closest of the four, an 80-73 road win a little more than a year ago.  Current NBA player Wes Johnson led Syracuse in that game with a team-high 20 points while Jeremy Hazell scored a game-high 38 for the Pirates.

Hazell figured to be one of the top players in the conference this season, but a broken wrist and shooting incident have derailed his career.  He was shot in the armpit during a robbery attempt on Christmas night and has been missed sorely by his teammates.

Without Hazell, Seton Hall has dropped four of its last five games, averaging only 58.3 points on 35.2 percent shooting in the losses.  The Pirates trailed the Cardinals 24-2 in their most recent game on Wednesday en route to a 73-54 defeat.  The UNDER has cashed in their last five games.

The Orange are coming off a 70-58 home win over Notre Dame last Saturday behind 18 points and a season-high eight rebounds from Kris Joseph.  Scoop Jardine added  15 points and nine assists while freshman James Southerland continued his strong play with 12 points off the bench.  Southerland is averaging 11 points in the last four games, connecting on 17 of 30 shots, including 10 of 19 from beyond the 3-point arc.

Our college basketball picks are red hot as Big East conference play gets underway. Don’t miss out on any more winners this season.

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