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Syracuse vs. San Diego State: Orange tip-off season with 'Battle on the Midway'

The Orange's 2012-13 season begins with a military-themed game played on the deck of the U.S.S. Midway.

U.S.S. Midway.
U.S.S. Midway.
Jared Smith

The Syracuse Orange and San Diego St. Aztecs will help tip-off the 2012-13 men's college basketball season Friday with a military-themed non-conference game that will be played on the deck of the San Diego-based aircraft carrier museum, the U.S.S. Midway.

The season-opening contest, which is being called the "Battle on the Midway," between the No. 9-ranked Orange and No. 20 Aztecs will be one of four military-themed college basketball games that will be held during Veterans Day weekend.

This will be the first time Syracuse will begin its season against a nationally-ranked opponent since 1987 when the then No. 1-ranked Orangemen lost to No. 3 North Carolina Tar Heels, 96-93.

The Orange, led by head coach Jim Boeheim who's entering his 37th season at SU, are coming off a 34-3 season that featured them winning the Big East Conference's regular-season title, earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament where they advanced all the way to the Elite 8. SU's season ended with a 77-70 loss to the Ohio St. Buckeyes, one win shy of making the Final Four.

Syracuse enters this season needing to replace four key contributors: Point guard Scoop Jardine, forward Kris Joseph, center Fab Melo and guard Dion Waiters.

It will do so by asking more from seniors Brandon Triche (guard) and James Southerland (forward), and junior forward C.J. Fair and sophomore point guard Michael Carter-Williams.

The Aztecs, led by head coach Steve Fisher, are coming off their third straight season in which they made the NCAA Tournament. San Diego State's season ended with a 79-65 loss to the N.C. State Wolfpack in the first round.

Two seasons ago, the Aztecs earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and advanced all the way to the Sweet 16 where it lost to the eventual National Champions, the Connecticut Huskies.

San Diego State's roster features junior guard Jamaal Franklin, who was named Mountain West Player of the Year last season. Franklin, who this season is a strong First-Team All-American candidate, leads a group that also has a strong senior core with guards Chase Tapley and James Rahon and forward DeShawn Stephens.

The Aztecs also have a solid group of youngsters, freshmen forwards Winston Shepard, Skylar Spencer and Matt Shrigley, and transfer additions, sophomore forwards J.J. O'Brien and Dwayne Polee II.

The game is schedule to tip-off at 8 p.m. ET and will be broadcasted on any Fox Sports Net affiliate or, in the Syracuse area, on MSG Plus.