It's been 17 years since Richmond pulled off a landmark upset for the game of college basketball. The lowly underspiders, err, underdogs became the first 15-seed to beat a two-seed since the tournament field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
The Orange has already pulled a Garfield twice and squashed the Spiders, but Tuesday night will provide Jim Boeheim a third opportunity to beat on the team that handed him one of the most embarrassing losses in school history.
Despite the upsets of VMI over Kentucky and Mercer over Alabama, the 'Cuse shouldn't be fearing a repeat of 1991.
It's not because of Richmond is a mediocre team, but more of the style of play RU employs to put points on the board. Historically the Princeton offense that coach Chris Mooney has installed hasn't fared well against the Orange. Just ask Georgetown, who for two consecutive years has struggled to score against the 'Cuse's 2-3 zone.
What the Spiders will have working for them is the fact the Orange has partially moved out of the 2-3 zone because of the style and depth of the team. The problem for Richmond is the fact Syracuse has an incredible amount of athleticism and depth to run the Spiders into the ground.
If Jim Boeheim chooses to employ the 2-3 zone, Richmond will be forced to try to beat the zone with three-pointers. The Spiders run into another problem if they are forced to step out to step up to beat SU.
Besides the fact the three-point line is one foot further away from the basket, Richmond excelled last season when it didn't have to shoot threes. Coach Mooney's squad was 12-4 when it took fewer than 20 three-pointers and 4-11 when it took at least 20 three-pointers in 2008.
Richmond has several players that SU will have to keep an eye on.
Sophomore Kevin Anderson enters his sophomore season as a member of the All-Atlantic 10 Rookie First Team. Because of his solid freshman year, when Anderson averaged 10.7 points per game, the sophomore was named to the Atlantic 10 Third Team.
Junior small forward Ryan Butler will be one of the first players off of Chris Mooney's bench. At 6'7", he'll provide height and an outside shooting presence. Butler hit all three of his attempts from long range in Richmond's opening blowout win over Randolph-Macon.
David Gonzalvez can hit the occasional three and did connect on over 40 percent of his threes last year, but overall Gonzalvez isn't a big time scorer.
The Spiders will need Butler and Gonzalvez to step up and continue to shoot the ball well if SU falls back into its trademark 2-3 zone.
Finally, Josh Duinker (pronounced Dunker—how fitting, right?) should provide a solid post presence under the basket. The redshirt freshman from Australia came off the bench to score 13 points and nine rebounds.
After Richmond's core of players, the Spiders don't have a lot of depth or talent. On its home court, in front of a group of fans ready to see SU square off against a Division I team, the Orange should be able to pull away and knock off the Spiders.
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