The Syracuse Orange are prepared to return to a high level after last season ended in the Sweet Sixteen to eventual runner-up Butler. This Syracuse squad has a mix of experience and youth, but they are full of talent all across the board. If you are ready to wager on college basketball this season, you should check out BetUS. With a new account and deposit of $500 or more they are going to give you a $500 match bonus!
Key Losses: Before anything else, it’s going to be tough to replace the three players that this Syracuse team has lost. Arinze Onuaku was arguably the most dominant big man in the Big East last season and his injury in the first round of the Big East Championship cost the team dearly in the NCAA Tournament.
Andy Rautins is a fan favorite. His outside shot and high energy was what he brought to the floor every night. Syracuse also lost top point producer and playmaker Wes Johnson. The Iowa State-transfer was high choice in the NBA draft and had a solid season with the Orange.
Frontcourt: Looking forward to this year the one player that has to play above his potential is Kris Joseph. Last season, Joseph contributed 10.8 ppg and nabbed 5.5 reb. The 6’7 210lbs junior from Canada is now a leader of this team. He is going to play a lot of minutes and be counted on by the Orange to produce.
Also down low is senior Rich Jackson. Jackson developed a lot last year and really found himself down the stretch. He posted 9.7 ppg and 7.0 reb, which were strong improvements from his freshmen and sophomore seasons. He is the heart of the vaunted 2-3 zone. Standing at 6’9 240lbs his wingspan makes things difficult when players try to penetrate to the basket.
Syracuse has had a lot of ability in the past, but the Big East preseason Rookie of the Year, Fab Melo a 7’0 260lbs center is the best recruit for the Orange since Carmelo Anthony. He is a five-star recruit and rated as the second best center in last year’s class. NBA scouts think there is a high chance he is one and done, but let’s see how he does at the college level before that decision is made. If the hype on him is for real, Big East teams better take notice and beware of the big man from Brazil.
Backcourt: The Orange have a quality backcourt that is veteran. Junior Scoop Jardine was the floor general last year putting 9.1 ppg and 4.3 ast. Jardine isn’t afraid to shoot the ball and he is going to be a big part of the Orange success this year.
Back and next to Jardine is sophomore Brand Triche. As a freshman the Syracuse native added 8.1 ppg. He saw a lot of time on the floor which will help him as he sees a more expanded role this year.
Two guys that were hurt last season and saw only a little time were James Southerland and Mookie Jones. They both face an uphill battle, but will be trying to earn minutes off the bench.
The other big recruit that Boeheim is receiving praise for getting is Dion Waiters a shooting guard who can really shoot the three. Aside from being able to shoot it at 6’3 210lbs he is fearless and loves to drive the ball to the hoop. If he is a real offensive threat now watch out, because that’s another option for this talented squad.
Prediction: This team is going to be good. They bring back players who took care of the basketball and limited turnovers. Syracuse is going to have to find a way to hit the outside jumper and have a more high field goal percentage. This team has plenty of alternatives to make up for what they lost in Rautins and Johnson.
Syracuse is going to fight for the Big East Championship this season, winning 26 or 27 games. Watch out because this has a lot in common with a team that went 30-5 and is Jim Boeheim’s only National Championship team.
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