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Stanford vs. Syracuse Preview: Cardinal Face No. 5 Orange in Finale of NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament

After the Stanford Cardinal used a big second half push on Wednesday to take out Oklahoma State Cowboys in the semifinal of the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off tournament, they now must turn their attention to one of the best teams in the land for the final, taking on Jim Boheim's No. 5 Syracuse Orange at Madison Square Garden Friday night. 

Stanford (5-0, 0-0 Pac-12) has the ability to win its first fall tournament in four years with a victory on Friday night, though they will undoubtedly face the toughest competition thus far in the season.

No. 5 Syracuse (5-0, 0-0 Big East) currently owns a 28 point margin of victory in their five games so far in 2011, are averaging roughly 10 more points a contest that Stanford at around 86 a game, and are allowing only 57 points a game. Couple that with their deep, deep bench and an almost home game at the Garden, this young Cardinal team will be facing a big test this evening in New York City against the Orange. 

This will be the first time these two teams have met on the hardwood. The last time Stanford faced a top 5 team was back in 2009 during the Final game of the Cancun Challenge in Cancun, Mexico, eventually falling to the then No. 5 Kentucky Wildcats 73-65 in overtime. 

Date: Friday, Nov. 25, 2011 • 2 p.m. PT
Site: Madison Square Garden (19,763) • New York, N.Y.
Series History: First Meeting
Radio: KNBR 1050 AM (PBP: John Platz, Analyst: Drew Shiller)
Westwood One Radio (PBP: Dave Sims, Analyst: Alaa Abdelnaby)
TV: ESPN (PBP: Mike Breen, Analyst: Fran Fraschilla)

For more on the Cardinal, head over to Rule of Tree.