With just three days until the Syracuse basketball regular season tips off, it seems only fitting that we discuss the glaring change in Syracuse’s style of play from their two exhibition games. Against both Le Moyne and Florida Southern, the Orange chucked up threes early and often.
The difference between those games and previous seasons is that they were falling for the Orange. Against Le Moyne, Syracuse hoisted 32 three-pointers. That is not a typo. They really attempted 32 three-pointers, which would have been fifth most in school history if it was regular season game. Syracuse hit twelve of those threes which is a 37.5% efficiency.
It was more of the same against Florida Southern. The Orange went shot 48.2% from downtown, going 14-29.
It is a small sample size against two Division II opponents but this shows a clear change in offensive mindset for the Orange. Last season, the Orange made an average of 5.0 three pointers on an average of 16.6 attempts. Again, it is a very small sample size but the Orange are taking a lot more threes and hitting them at a much higher efficiency.
It makes sense that the Orange would begin the transition to a more perimeter-oriented offense. Syracuse only lost Rakeem Christmas, who, as good as he was, was not a shooter. Boeheim brought in Malachi Richardson, who very early in his college career has shown that he is one heck of a shooter. 7-14
Over his first two games, Richardson has shot 11-20 from the field, including 7-14 from three. His strong shooting takes some pressure off the two guys who took on all of the responsibility last season. Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney.
No one seems to be reaping the rewards of less pressure than Kaleb Joseph. He put in a very strong performance off of the bench against Florida Southern, but what maybe the most unexpected aspect of his performance is that he went 3-4 from three. If his confidence shooting the ball continues to grow he can be yet another threat for the seemingly potent offense.
Of course, everything can change once Syracuse steps out onto the court against another Division I opponent, but if the pre-season is any indication, this team may be set to live and die by the three and Syracuse fans should be okay with that.