Unless you watch a lot of trashy late night television, you probably have no clue who this guy is. Well, if you’re at all familiar with the way I’ve been kicking off these game previews you know he’s a Louisiana Tech alum, and this might be the most embarrassing one all year. That guy right there? That’s Joey Greco, the host of the horrible show “Cheaters,” which is exactly what it sounds like – a TV crew, led by Joey Greco, tries to catch people in the act of cheating on their significant other. To steal a line from the Syracusefan.com regulars, hey Louisiana Tech – this guy went to your school, you should feel bad.
Of course, Joey Greco is best known for one thing – he’s the trashy TV host who actually got stabbed while filming an episode. And yes, that clip linked shows him actually getting shanked. When you realize what a scumbag tool the guy is, it feels kind of justified, like karma showed up with a prison shiv carved out of a toothbrush and said, “Hey Joey, stop looking like that, and stop being such an ass.” This one was a warning shot to Greco, and by extension, Louisiana Tech.
Now, today in the Carrier Dome, the Orange have a chance to finish the job. Okay, that was a stretch. But let’s kick the crap out of Louisiana Tech anyway. Because let’s be honest, the Mailman isn’t walking through that door, and if he was he’d probably be driving a big rig or showing up at a now defunct professional wrestling company’s pay-per-view event.
So, what do we know about Louisiana Tech, other than the fact the school produced the likes of Joey Greco and Karl Malone? Well, first of all, they enter today’s game with a better record than Syracuse. The Bulldogs are 7-2, having lost their most recent game against Louisiana-Lafayette. So, yeah – that record might be a little bit inflated. Still, they have beaten Providence, with their other loss coming against Temple in Philadelphia.
(ED. NOTE: JUST KIDDING! It’s been brought to my attention that the “Providence” listed on their schedule is something called “Providence Storm” and not the one that we used to play in the Big East. I swear the schedule on their site used to just say “Providence” and they just recently added the “Storm” part…I swear!)
We also know that the Bulldogs haven’t played at the Carrier Dome in 26 years, when they were a participant in the old Carrier Classic. In that game, Syracuse led by 18 at half before Louisiana Tech came back to force overtime, with Syracuse ultimately winning by eight.
Today feels like a good day for Syracuse to start a new home win streak, as their 55 game run was ended by St. John’s in the team’s last game. Hopefully it won’t be another overtime event, because let’s be honest, that would make this Syracuse team look even worse than the current two game losing streak already has, particularly considering the tailspin Michigan has gone into since the Orange lost in Ann Arbor.
Raheem Appleby is the team’s leading scorer, averaging 15.4 points-per-game. The 6-foot-4 senior guard is a solid threat from deep, having connected on 21 three pointers at a clip of 36.2%. He’s not going to do any damage on the boards, pulling down less than two rebounds-per-game, and his overall shooting percentage is a pretty poor 37.8%. Alex Hamilton is a 6-foot-4 guard as well, and is second on the team in scoring with 15.3 points-per-game, and does most of his damage on drives and drawing fouls. He’s hit 44 free throws this year, though he’s also missed 24, meaning he gets to the line a bunch but isn’t exactly automatic. Hamilton scored 27 against UL-Lafayette.
Eric McCree is a 6-foot-8 forward who transferred to Louisiana Tech from Murray State, and he scored a career-best 25 points in the loss to ULL. He’s averaging 13.3 points and 5.0 rebounds-per-game while shooting 51.9% from the field, and has the capability to step outside and knock down threes. McCree is 7-of-23 from long range on the year, so while he’s not stellar he’s still someone that Syracuse needs to keep an eye on should he slip out to the perimeter.
Michale Kyser might sound like the name of a Bond villain, but he’s actually a 6-foot-10 senior who leads the Bulldogs with a field goal percentage of 58.0% and 7.2 rebounds-per-game, while also chipping in 8.3 points, good for fourth best on the team. Among the rest of the team, Kenneth Smith and Jacobi Boykins are guys that the Orange need to keep an eye on. Both have hit 10 threes this year, with Smith – who leads the team with 63 assists – shooting 45.5% from deep as the team’s starting point guard, while Boykins is shooting 47.6% from three, chipping in 5.6 points-per-game in just over 12 minutes per game. He’s got good size to shoot over the zone at 6-foot-6, and could become a genuine x-factor in the game.
I’ve been saying this before basically every game, and eventually I’ll learn my lesson, but this Syracuse team certainly has the natural talent and athleticism to beat Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs do boast a ton of size, with the smallest player on the team being the 6-foot-3 Smith, and nine players standing 6-foot-6 or taller. Despite that size, however, they’re getting pretty well dominated on the glass, getting out-boarded by nearly seven rebounds every contest. They’re also pretty pedestrian from the charity stripe overall, shooting 67.3% as a team, but they score the ball well enough to give the Orange a game.
Heading into today’s game, the Bulldogs are shooting 45.5% from the field, 36.3% from deep, and averaging 77.7 points-per-game. Granted, that’s coming against teams like Southern, Jackson State, and Samford, but Louisiana Tech certainly has the athleticism and shooting ability to hang around with the Orange, so Syracuse needs to try to put the game away as early as possible, and not get off to a sloppy start.
At this point we can’t afford to take any opponent lightly, but if Syracuse needs any additional motivation then hell, just have the team look at that picture of Joey Greco. Any school that produces a dude like that doesn’t deserve to succeed on the basketball court.