Initially, there seemed to be a lot of optimism about next basketball season. A loaded recruiting class was coming in headlined by Malachi Richardson. Chris McCullough was going to be healthy after missing much of the conference season with a torn ACL. And there remained hope that Thomas Bryant would still choose the Orange over the crimson and cream of the Indiana Hoosiers.
Well, now we are just a few weeks away from all that being a reality, yet we sit with a very different outlook on next season. No Chris McCullough. No Thomas Bryant. No respect from national writers and prognosticators.
While a few polls, such as USA Today and The Sporting News have the Orange in the top 20, most others do not include the Orange. Syracuse did not appear in the polls put together by ESPN, CBS Sports, The Big Lead, NBC’s College Basketball Talk or SB Nation.
So the question here is, do the Orange deserve more respect from national publications heading into next year? It is hard to warrant more respect for the Orange right now because next year’s team is full of “ifs.”
The Orange could be good next year: IF DaJuan Coleman comes back healthy. IF Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbinije prove they can carry the team. IF Kaleb Joseph improves enough to lead the team as the point guard. IF Malachi Richardson and the freshman are as good as advertised.
There are plenty of “ifs” that the Orange needs to deal with. If some of these come together, SU could not only be a tournament team, but maybe even a team that makes a run. If the “ifs” don’t pan out, then we are looking at another Syracuse team that struggles to win 20 games and sits firmly on the NCAA tournament bubble when Selection Sunday rolls around.
Posted: Seth Goldberg