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Arkansas vs. Syracuse: Orange visit Razorbacks in Big East/SEC Challenge

Syracuse travels to Fayetteville, Ark. Friday to face Arkansas in the SEC/Big East Challenge (8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN).

Nate Shron

The Syracuse Orange will play their second road game of the season Friday when they visit the Arkansas Razorbacks in a non-conference men's basketball game at Bud Walton Arena (8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN). The contest is part of the annual SEC/Big East Challenge.

The No. 5-ranked Orange (4-0) are coming off a dominating 87-51 victory over the Colgate Red Raiders on Sunday. Sophomore guard Michael Carter-Williams pieced together a stat-stuffing performance of 13 assists, eight points, four rebounds and four steals, while senior forward James Southerland came off the bench to score a team-high 18 points. Southerland went 7-for-12 from the floor including 4-for-9 from behind the 3-point line.

This will be Syracuse's second road game of the season, as it opened its 2012-13 campaign with a 62-49 win over the San Diego St. Aztecs on the deck of the aircraft carrier the U.S.S. Midway, located in the San Diego harbor.

Meanwhile, the 3-2 Razorbacks are coming off back-to-back losses to the Arizona St. Sun Devils and Wisconsin Badgers in last week's Las Vegas Invitational.

Arkansas is trying to feel out a roster that features four new players, including three freshman and a junior college transfer.

So far, the newcomer that has had the biggest impact is JUCO transfer Coty Clarke, who's the team's leading rebounder (6.8 per game) and has the most playing minutes coming off the bench (19.8 per game).

Sophomore B.J. Young is the the Razorbacks' leading scorer averaging 20.5 point per game, including a season-high 29 against Arizona St. Marshawn Powell is the only other Arkansas player averaging in double figures (12.2 ppg).

Overall, the Razorbacks do not shoot the ball well from behind the 3-point line (27.8-percent), which could be a problem against the Orange's patented 2-3 zone defense.

Syracuse's projected starting five:

  1. Michael Carter-Williams - 6-foot-6, 185-pounds: dished out 13 assists in SU's victory over Colgate.
  2. Brandon Triche - 6'4, 210: four-year starter who's a co-leader in scoring (15.3 ppg).
  3. C.J. Fair - 6'8, 215: averaging 11.0 ppg and 6.0 rpg.
  4. Rakeem Christmas - 6'9, 242: averaging 7.8 ppg and 5.8 rpg.
  5. DaJuan Coleman - 6'9, 288: averaging 6.0 ppg and 5.5 rpg.

Bench: James Southerland (6'8, 215): is making 45-percent from behind the 3-point line and is the team's co-leader in scoring with 15.3 ppg; Baye Moussa Keita (6'10, 215): averaging 4.8 rpg; Trevor Cooney (6'4, 195): Orange's struggling 3-point shooter (2-for-15) ; Jerami Grant (6'8, 203): averaging just 10.8 minutes off the bench.

Arkansas' projected starting five:

  1. Mardracus Wade - 6'3, 176: Has started 37 straight games. Led the SEC in 3-point shooting last season (40-percent).
  2. B.J. Young - 6'3, 180: Razorbacks' leading scorer (20.5 ppg). Served a two-game suspension earlier in the season.
  3. Rashad Madden - 6'5, 180: Tallied season-high 11 points against Arizona St.
  4. Marshawn Powell - 6'7, 240: Razorbacks' second leading scorer (12.2 ppg).
  5. Hunter Mickelson - 6'10, 245: Solid shot-blocker ranked 13th on Razorback all-time list.

Bench: Coty Clarke (6'7, 225): averages a team-high 19.8 minutes per game off the bench; Anthlon Bell (6'3, 190): Razorbacks' second 3-point threat (5-for-18 this season); Rickey Scott (6'3, 205): came off the bench to score in double-figures against Florida A&M and Longwood.