Live blog: USF-Syracuse men's hoops ...
Greetings from the Sun Dome, where USF opens Big East play with a huge challenge against No. 13 Syracuse. I'm very curious to see what the crowd will be like here, and to no surprise, the early answer is ... very Orange. Tons of Syracuse folks here -- I passed three tailgates in the parking lot, and all were 'Cuse fans.
Looking across from press row, there's literally 58 people on the other side of the lower level, 23 minutes before tipoff. Glance up and the second level is very, very orange -- literally a few thousand up here. Last year's game drew an announced 6,705 in the Sun Dome -- only Notre Dame and West Virginia drew more in Tampa last year. And yes, USF's students aren't back in session, so they won't be here as much as they should be for the Louisville game on Wednesday, but that's a tiny excuse for a game like tonight's.
Looks like the same starting lineup as Iona, with freshmen Justin Leemow and Eladio Espinosa getting starts despite combining for three points in that win. Espinosa has hit four shots from the field in USF's last nine games, after hitting seven shots in his first three games.
Oh, and yes, former Ohio State guard Anthony "Noopy" Crater, who is transferring after one semester with the Buckeyes, is in attendance tonight. He and his mother are sitting in the front row behind the Bulls bench -- again, his former AAU coach in Flint says the three top choices are USF, Baylor and Stanford, with the Bulls at the top of the list.