#11 Syracuse Orange: College Basketball 111 in 111



Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.

We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

With the disappointing outcome of Friday night’s expected aircraft carrier games, the Syracuse Orange are hoping for better luck Sunday when they take on San Diego State on the deck of the USS Midway.  The game has already been postponed from its original tip date of Friday and if the conditions hold, should be the start of another season (and their last season since they move to the ACC next year) in which Jim Boeheim has ‘Cuse competing for a Big East title.

Last Season: 1st, 17-1 in Big East, 34-3 overall
Predicted Big East Finish: 2nd

Projected Depth Chart
C: DaJuan Coleman (Fr)/Baye Moussa Keita (Jr)
PF: Rakeen Christmas (So)/Jerami Grant (Fr)
SF: C.J. Fair (Jr)/James Southerland (Sr)
SG: Brandon Triche (Sr)/Trevor Cooney (Fr)
PG: Michael Carter-Williams (So)

Gone: G-Dion Waiters, SF-Kris Joseph, PG-Scoop Jardine, C-Fab Melo, G/F-Mookie Jones (transfer-)

2012-2013 Outlook:
With only nine scholarship players eligible to suit up this season, the Orange have a very thin roster and cannot afford to lose anyone for an extended period of time with an injury, especially in the backcourt.

Brandon Triche and Michael Carter-Williams will team up to start at guard.  Triche is the team’s top returning scorer and capable of handling the basketball or playing off the ball since he shoots it well from deep.  MC-W goes from being the fourth guard last year to the primary ball-handler.  At 6-6, he is a unique talent for a point guard and pure distributor who must show the maturity to take over as the lead guy.

The only reserve guard is redshirt freshman Trevor Cooney.  After sitting out last season, Cooney will provide ‘Cuse with a sharpshooter capable of instant offense off the bench.

C.J. Fair will be asked to help lead the Orange this year as the only returning starter besides Triche.  The athletic lefty has a nice mid-range game but his explosiveness at the rim and length in Boeheim’s 2-3 zone makes him most effective.  Three-point gunner James Southerland brings added versatility to the frontcourt and will see plenty of playing time off the bench.

In the middle, freshman DaJuan Coleman will take over for Fab Melo.  At 6-9, 288 pounds Coleman is a beast inside and knows how to throw that big body around.  He has great touch on the inside and brings a back to the basket option for the ‘Cuse that they lacked last year.  Baye Moussa Keita is an athletic, lengthy who will come off the bench.  He runs the floor extremely well and can block shots in the middle of the Orange zone.

One guy to keep an eye on this year is Rakeem Christmas.  The highly recruited big man struggled out of the gates last season and never looked truly comfortable on the floor.  He is far too skilled not to make a significant leap with his production as a sophomore.  Freshman Jerami Grant (the son of former NBA’er Harvey, nephew of Horace, and brother of Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant) adds more athleticism to the frontcourt.  He attacks the glass and should fit in perfectly in the zone defense.

Syracuse already has a stacked 2013 recruiting class and they will also welcome in Duke transfer wing Michael Gbinije as well.  He must sit out this season per NCAA transfer rules but is allowed to practice with the team.

It honestly makes me extremely sad that this is Syracuse’s final year in the Big East.  The conference simply won’t be the same without them.  My feelings aside, Boeheim has a roster that fits his style of play on both ends.  I think the development of Carter-Williams and Christmas, and how big of an impact Coleman can make right away will be the telling sign for how far the defending Big East Champs can go in March.

Player to Watch: Michael Carter-Williams
Stuck behind Triche, Scoop Jardine, and Dion Waiters, MC-W had to wait his turn and now is time for him to break out which he is more than capable of doing.  He has a well-rounded offensive game and is extremely dangerous in the open court leading the break.  His length will also be a major asset at the top of that 2-3 zone.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/11 vs. San Diego State (on deck of USS Midway Museum)
11/30 at Arkansas (Big East/SEC Challenge)
12/6 vs. Long Beach State
12/17 vs. Detroit
12/22 vs. Temple (Gotham Classic at MSG)

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#10 Michigan Wolverines
#11 Syracuse Orange
#12 Duke Blue Devils
#13 Ohio State Buckeyes
#14 Arizona Wildcats
#15 North Carolina Tar Heels
#16 Michigan State Spartans
#17 UCLA Bruins
#18 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
#19 Cincinnati Bearcats
#20 Marquette Golden Eagles
#21 Creighton Bluejays
#22 Gonzaga Bulldogs
#23 Minnesota Golden Gophers
#24 Memphis Tigers
#25 Baylor Bears
#26 Wisconsin Badgers
#27 Tennessee Volunteers
#28 Pitt Panthers
#29 New Mexico Lobos
#30 St. Mary’s Gaels
#31 Georgetown Hoyas
#32 North Texas Mean Green
#33 Ohio Bobcats
#34 Texas Longhorns
#35 Miami Hurricanes
#36 Purdue Boilermakers
#37 Alabama Crimson Tide
#38 St. Joseph’s Hawks
#39 Murray State Racers
#40 VCU Rams
#41 Davidson Wildcats
#42 Stanford Cardinal
#43 UMass Minutemen
#44 St. John’s Red Storm
#45 Butler Bulldogs
#46 Florida State Seminoles
#47 Drexel Dragons
#48 St. Louis Billikens
#49 West Virginia Mountaineers
#50 BYU Cougars
#51 Temple Owls
#52 Washington Huskies
#53 California Golden Bears
#54 Kansas State Wildcats
#55 Nevada Wolfpack
#56 Colorado Buffaloes
#57 Iowa State Cyclones
#58 Northern Iowa Panthers
#59 Colorado State Rams
#60 Iowa Hawkeyes
#61 South Florida Bulls
#62 Valparaiso Crusaders
#63 Illinois Fighting Illini
#64 Arkansas Razorbacks
#65 Wichita State Shockers
#66 George Mason Patriots
#67 Virginia Cavaliers
#68 Villanova Wildcats
#69 Maryland Terrapins
#70 Marshall Thundering Herd
#71 Iona Gaels
#72 Northwestern Wildcats
#73 Oklahoms State Cowboys
#74 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#75 USC Trojans
#76 UConn Huskies
#77 Harvard Crimson
#78 Xavier Musketeers
#79 Ole Miss Rebels
#80 Clemson Tigers
#81 Oregon State Beavers
#82 Texas A&M Aggies
#83 Providence Friars
#84 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#85 Oklahoma Sooners
#86 Lehigh Mountain Hawks
#87 Washington State Cougars
#88 Long Beach State 49ers
#89 Belmont Bruins
#90 Vanderbilt Commodores
#91 Dayton Flyers
#92 Houston Cougars
#93 UCF Knights
#94 Old Dominion Monarchs
#95 Oregon Ducks
#96 LSU Tigers
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.


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