Syracuse tips off its season looking to build upon last year’s unlikely Final Four run starting with Tuesday’s preseason matchup against Indiana University of Pennsylvania. While SU’s two preseason games come against cupcake opponents, the Orange still has plenty of things to establish in the preseason.
The Starting Five
Jim Boeheim rolled out the same starting five last season for every single game. That is unlikely to be the case this year with a very deep team. Not to mention, last season’s squad being blessed with good health. There are multiple positional battles going on and we could see very different lineups in each game. Boeheim can mix and match size, strength, speed and experience, so it will be interesting to see what team the coach throws out there in the first exhibition game, but the final five is a decision that will probably be set in stone when conference play begins.
Andrew White III
The Orange’s most prized newcomer is coming off career highs in pretty much every statistical category at Nebraska. White has played against elite competition in the Big 12 and Big Ten, which is rare for graduate transfers. That should prepare him well for stiff ACC competition. The fifth year senior brings a lot to the table, especially in aspects that the Orange lost with the departures of Trevor Cooney, Michael Gbinije and Malachi Richardson. White can shoot the ball from deep, as evidenced by his 41 percent success rate from three, and finished tied for fourth in the Big Ten in three pointers made. He’s also a lengthy defender who can create steals. The Orange hopes there isn’t a layover as White plays in his third power five conference in as many years.
Gelling With New Guys
While roster turnover is expected annually at the college level, the Orange has a whopping six new players joining the team this season. Syracuse doesn’t get its first tough test until the end of November against Wisconsin. The first five games are when SU needs to iron out the chemistry wrinkles and come together with so many newcomers on the roster. It will be an experiment for the first couple of weeks to get this group to mesh, but if there’s one guy who can get this team to come together, it’s the great intangible that is Coach Boeheim.