99 in 99: #6 Syracuse Orange

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The Syracuse Orange season is already off to a better start than last year.  ‘Cuse beat Division II LeMoyne Tuesday night; the same team that upset the Orange a year ago during exhibition play.  Things get real Friday when Jim Boeheim’s bunch tips off their season against Northern Iowa.

The Sports Bank’s “99 in 99” ranks the 72 power conference college basketball teams and top 27 mid-majors.  Click here if you missed teams #7-#99.

By: David Kay

Syracuse Orange (1st, 15-3 in Big East, 28-4 overall)

Projected Depth Chart
C: Fab Melo(Fr)/DaShonte Riley (So)
PF: Rick Jackson (Sr)/Baye Moussa Keita (Fr)
SF: Kris Joseph (Jr)/James Southerland (So)/C.J. Fair (Fr)
G: Brandon Triche (So)/Mookie Jones (Jr)
G: Scoop Jardine (Jr)/Dion Waiters (Fr)

Gone: SF-Wesley Johnson, SG-Andy Rautins, C-Arinze Onuaku

Syracuse basketball2010-2011 Outlook:
It is hard not to think “what if” for the ‘Cuse.  When Arinze Onuaku got hurt during the Big East Tournament, it was a major hit on their national championship chances and ultimately resulted in a Sweet 16 exit to eventual runner-up, Butler.  The Orange lose three starters in Arinze Onuaku, do-it-all wing player Wesley Johnson, and the heart and soul of their team Andy Rautins, but the cupboard is far from bare for Jim Boeheim.

Scoop Jardine and Kris Joseph each played starter minutes last season and will replace Johnson and Rautins in the starting five.  Jardine is a more of a pure point guard than last year’s starter Brandon Triche, but Scoop at times showed very poor judgement in his decision making and shot selection which will need to improve this season.  Joseph is lengthy and athletic like Johnson but not as well rounded on the offensive end.

Triche is capable of handling the ball as he proved last season but will see more minutes at the two.  Boeheim has raved about freshman Dion Waiters in the pre-season and he should be a dynamic scoring option off the bench.  Mookie Jones is a scorer who has been unable to work his way into the rotation due to his deficiencies on the defensive end.  Sophomore James Southerland could step into Joseph’s role from last season in being a key contributor off the bench while C.J. Fair will also battle for playing time.

Rick Jackson and Onuaku formed one of the most physical and bruising frontcourts in college hoops last year and not too much should be lost this year as highly touted seven-footer Fab Melo steps into Onuaku’s position.  Besides having the great name in college basketball since Exree Hipp, Melo is still relatively raw as an offensive player but should certainly be a factor in the middle of the ‘Cuse 2-3 zone.

The depth up-front took a hit when seven-foot sophomore DaShonte Riley underwent surgery last month to repair a fracture in his right foot that will have him sidelined until at least January, possibly the entire season.  That will put extra pressure on freshman Baye Moussa Keita to be an immediate contributor.  Luckily for Boeheim, Jackson is capable of playing center while Joseph, Southerland, and Fair can all play the four if needed.

Syracuse should have the offensive firepower to match their always headache causing 2-3 zone.  Do not be surprised to see the Orange once again competing for the Big East title and if their role players emerge into valuable contributors, ‘Cuse will be contending for a spot in the Final Four.

Kris Joseph Syracuse

Player to Watch: Kris Joseph, F
The Canadian born Joseph will be asked to replace Johnson’s productivity which will be a difficult challenge.  Joseph showed tremendous development during his sophomore season and is athletically gifted.  In terms of his actual basketball prowess, there is still a ways to go.  Joseph thrives in the open floor and around the rim but needs to become a better outside shooter and more impact defender if he is going to put together a Johnson-type feel to his game.  The ‘Cuse also loses two tremendous crunch time scorers and Joseph or Jardine are best suited to become that type of player this season.

Key Non-Conference Games:

11/12 vs. Northern Iowa
11/21 vs. William & Mary
11/26 vs. Michigan (Legends Classic)
11/27 vs. UTEP/Georgia Tech (Legends Classic)
12/4 vs. N.C. State
12/7 vs. Michigan State (Jimmy V Classic)

Other 99 in 99’s:
#7 Kansas
#8 North Carolina
#9 Florida
#10 Illinois
#11 Kentucky
#12 Villanova
#13 Baylor
#14 Washington
#15 Georgetown
#16 Missouri
#17 Memphis
#18 Wisconsin
#19 Purdue
#20 Butler
#21 Virginia Tech
#22 Tennessee
#23 Gonzaga
#24 Texas
#25 San Diego State
#26 Xavier
#27 West Virginia
#28 BYU
#29 Georgia
#30 St. John’s
#31 N.C. State
#32 Florida State
#33 Marquette
#34 Temple
#35 Vanderbilt
#36 Arizona
#37 Murray State
#38 Dayton
#39 Notre Dame
#40 Mississippi State
#41 Utah State
#42 Maryland
#43 Richmond
#44 UNLV
#45 Seton Hall
#46 Wichita State
#47 Washington State
#48 St. Louis
#49 Old Dominion
#50 Minnesota
#51 New Mexico
#52 UConn
#53 Northwestern
#54 UCLA
#55 Southern Mississippi
#56 St. Mary’s
#57 Texas A&M
#58 Louisville
#59 Arizona State
#60 Northern Iowa
#61 Creighton
#62 Clemson
#63 Cincinnati
#64 Texas Tech
#65 Miami, FL
#66 Charlotte
#67 UTEP
#68 Ole Miss
#69 George Mason
#70 Colorado
#71 Weber State
#72 Alabama
#73 Bradley
#74 Central Florida
#75 Wake Forest
#76 Georgia Tech
#77 USC
#78 Oklahoma State
#79 Cal
#80 Oklahoma
#81 Virginia
#82 South Carolina
#83 Indiana
#84 Stanford
#85 Oregon
#86 Penn State
#87 South Florida
#88 Arkansas
#89 Boston College
#90 LSU
#91 Providence
#92 Michigan
#93 Oregon State
#94. Nebraska
#95. Auburn
#96. DePaul
#97. Iowa State
#98. Rutgers
#99. Iowa

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and The Washington Times Communities.  You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

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Comments

  1. SYR is good but not # 6! KU is better, KU lost a PG, SF, and C and replaced the PG and SF part with good players and Cuse lost a SF and have no good players to replace him, Cuse is in trouble this year.

  2. No good players to replace Wesley Johnson? Uh… ever heard of Kris Joseph?

  3. Kris is okay, good player, tough worker, but I don’t think he’ll be as good as anticipated.

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