Syracuse basketball was banned from the 2015 post-season but they would not have made the tournament anyway. Looking ahead to next season, Orange fans are hopeful of a return to form and a return to March Madness. If ESPN’s Jeff Goodman’s “way too early” Top 50 is any indication, the Orange could be well on their way.
Goodman lists the Orange as the 34th best team in the nation entering the 2015-16 season. It is important to note that he had Syracuse as the 5th best team in the ACC behind UNC (2nd in the country), Duke (5th), UVA (7th) and Louisville (28th). If this pre-season poll projects the end of the season, the Orange are sure to make their return to the tourney.
With every poll, every fan wonders if it’s fair or correct. Though it is very early, 34th seems just about right for Syracuse. They have too many unknowns to be a top 25 team off the bat. They have four freshman coming in and they lost key pieces in Chris McCullough and Rakeem Christmas. Kaleb Joseph’s struggles have been well-documented and Trevor Cooney is inconsistent. However, there is potential as this is the 12th best recruiting class in the nation and one of the best in school history.
Another thing that Goodman threw out there was a potential starting line-up for the Orange. The obvious players were there; Gbinije, Roberson, Cooney and Richardson. However, the fifth player was not PG Kaleb Joseph. It was C DaJuan Coleman who has missed the better part of two seasons due to injury.
This may initially seem startling but it makes sense. Kaleb struggled and the Orange were at their best when Michael Gbinije ran the point. If Gbinije handles the ball on offense and plays down low on defense, the Orange will have the best chance of fulfilling their potential. The greatest question mark in Goodman’s lineup is Coleman. Coleman is a tremendous talent but one can never know how someone will return from injury, especially one as severe as Coleman’s.
It is way too early to have refined predictions for the upcoming season as things could change drastically in the coming months. However, Jeff Goodman’s ranking of Syracuse at 34, and his starting five are more than fair.
Posted: Logan Grossman