Syracuse center Arinze Onuaku, who took a scary fall with barely five minutes left in the Orange's quarterfinal loss to Georgetown in the Big East tournament, hasn't practiced all week with a right quad injury and has been ruled out of Friday night's first-round NCAA game against Vermont.
"He's being treated," Orange coach Jim Boeheim said of his 260-pound post presence. "He's still got pain when he puts pressure on the leg. We're thinking he's not going to be able to play [against Vermont], and Sunday, if we get there, is doubtful in my mind."
Slashing forward Kris Joseph, who has been called the best sixth man in the country by some commentators, will start with Power forward Rick Jackson playing the middle of Boeheim's trademark 2-3 zone. "That's the lineup we played 60 or 70 percent of the time this season, and it's an effective lineup," Boeheim said.
The question is what effect Onuaku's loss will have on Syracuse's depth. Freshman center DaShonte Riley practiced well, Boeheim said, and is expected to play as much as 10 minutes a game.
After reaching the No. 1 spot in recent national polls, Syracuse finished the regular season with a loss at Louisville and then was knocked out by Georgetown in its first Big East tourney game. "We've played well on offense the last two games," Boleheim said. "We've slipped a little on defense. But I'm not concerned about the last two games. I expect us to play well."