Syracuse’s non-conference play was historically bad. Jim Boeheim lost five non-conference games for the first time in his 41-year coaching career. There have been highs this season, but there have been many more lows. Here are the five biggest takeaways from the Orange in the early going.
The five star recruit is stringing together productive performances. Coleman is averaging career highs in points (7.4) and rebounds (5.3), while playing under 20 minutes per game. The fifth year senior has already recorded two double doubles this season after posting just four prior to this year. Coleman has provided muscle and experience for a team that lacks a lot of both.
Shoot And Defend The Three Well
You would think a team that ranks where the Orange does in offensive and defensive three point percentage would not be 8-5 at the end of non-conference play. Syracuse ranks 40th in the nation offensively and 13th defensively. This bodes well for the rare breed known as optimistic SU fans. Ever since the Orange joined the ACC, the conference’s leader in three-point shooting has never been below a three seed in the tournament. While that seeding is a pipe dream, those teams never finished with a conference record below 13-5. As long as the Orange keeps shooting well from deep, the wins will come.
Production Equals Playing Time
After never swaying from his starting five last season, Boeheim has already shuffled the lineup three times this year. The legend has said it before: you don’t play because you are a senior, you play because you are productive. No one has learned that more than Tyler Roberson. While the senior has struggled at times this season, he is still an essential part of this Orange team and has found some success off the bench when he is given sufficient minutes.
The Freshmen Can Play
This was one of the Orange’s most talented recruiting classes and it is showing, even without Matthew Moyer. Taurean Thompson has been a spark off the bench with double digit points in more than half of SU’s games. In fact, Syracuse is 6-1 when Thompson eclipses the decade mark. Thompson’s fellow freshman Tyus Battle has also been spectacular on the offensive end. Battle is one of three SU players shooting at least 40 percent from behind the arc. He has been a consistent piece off the bench, averaging almost two made threes per game.
Tyler Lydon Needs To Be A Superstar
After some early struggles, some Orange fans were worried whether the sophomore could shoulder the load for SU. Maybe it was those pesky exams that were bothering Lydon. Ever since finals week, he has averaged a shade under 20 points per game and nearly nine boards. And that includes the Eastern Michigan win where Lydon sat out the entire second half with an achilles injury. The Orange looks lost offensively when the outside shot is not falling, but Lydon has proved that he can keep Syracuse in those games now that he has seemingly settled into his new role.