Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

League Opener Will Be Missing Boeheim

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

League Opener Will Be Missing Boeheim

Article excerpt

One of Jamie Dixon's best friends in the coaching world is Syracuse's Jim Boeheim. One of the reasons he always enjoys when the Panthers play the Orange is that the two get to catch up with each other before the game.

But Wednesday when Pitt (10-1) plays host to Syracuse (10-3) in the second game of the "ACC Tip-Off" doubleheader, Dixon will not be able to spend a few minutes with Boeheim nor will he be able to try to match wits with him during the game.

That's because Boeheim won't be with the Orange for three more games as he is serving a nine-game suspension for NCAA violations within the program.

The Orange, instead, will be coached by his top assistant (and the Orange head coach designate) Mike Hopkins, who has guided the team to a 4-2 record in Boeheim's absence.

Dixon said that not having Boeheim, who 7-13 against Dixon, on the other bench will be a little bit difference because the legendary coach has been such a fixture at Syracuse for so long.

"Yeah it will be [strange]," Dixon said. "I'm good friends with Jim Boeheim and I'm good friends with Coach Hopkins, too, so I am sure Coach Hopkins and I will talk some before the game. We have been friends for a long time ... [Hopkins and I] are from the same part of California.

"So it will be interesting, but once we start the game I'm sure it will be about the players."

Syracuse will play this game and two more - at Miami and then against Clemson - with Hopkins in charge, but that doesn't mean the Orange are doing things differently than if Boeheim was on the bench. Boeheim made that point clear earlier this season at preseason ACC media day when he was asked about whether or not Hopkins would tweak some things. Boeheim said it will still be his team and his program, the only difference is he won't be able to run practices or sit on the bench for a few weeks. …

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