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The Fizz’s 2017-18 Basketball Crystal Ball Predictions

After a disappointing NIT exit against Ole Miss last season, SU looks to return to form, but it will have to do so without four starters from last season. Here’s how The Fizz thinks 2017-18 will pan out for the Orange.

Logan Grossman: 17-14

Syracuse’s new players this season alone would be a large rotation for Jim Boeheim. With so many new faces, it could be another slow start for the Orange in the 2017-18 season. If you don’t believe that, I’ll assume you didn’t see the first half of Syracuse’s final preseason game against Southern Connecticut State. Boeheim seems to be putting a larger focus on defense this season, perhaps because he feels this team won’t be able to score much. Whatever the reason, the Orange will likely be playing, or at least trying to play, low scoring games. With so much inexperience in the 2-3 zone, this could spell trouble, especially early on. In a loaded ACC conference, the Orange are facing another massive uphill battle just to make the NCAA tournament. At the risk of sounding foolish, I’m penciling the Orange into the NIT.

Tyler Aki: 16-15

This is going to be a tough one for the Orange. The ACC is just too good this year and Syracuse is in the middle of transition. Losing four starters is never a good start. SU is going to need the freshman to learn quickly this season, or else it could fall into a deep hole early against some quality non-conference opponents. Once conference play comes around, it’s big game after big game against ridiculously talented opponents. SU should start the season hot, but once you get to games against Kansas and Maryland, Syracuse will have its hands full. The Orange’s conference slate is super tough out of the gate, and an 0-4 start is not out of the question. The frustrations of a long, tough season could catch up to this young team at that point. But if the new guys pan out a lot earlier than expected, this could be a completely different team. But until we see that, there is little reason to believe this team is going dancing in March.

Drew Carter: 16-15

You know how in movies and TV shows, every time a character yells, “Could this day get any worse?!” the heavens open and it starts to thunderstorm? That could be a metaphor for the upcoming Syracuse basketball season. It felt like last year was rock bottom: a brutal non-conference performance featuring five losses, the most in Jim Boeheim’s career; flashes of tantalizing potential followed by head-scratching losses; a snub from the NCAA Tournament. But the Orange projects to fare even worse in 2017-18, especially offensively, after losing six of its top seven scorers. The beacon of hope comes from the other end of the floor, where SU wreaked havoc in exhibition games and features the long, athletic personnel to terrorize opposing offenses. But Syracuse is the rare program in which may be harder for new players to acclimate themselves on defense (in a man-to-man scheme, freshmen can rely on athleticism) than offense. The talent for a ferocious 2-3 zone is there; the continuity may not be. By the time the new-look Orange meshes, it will be too late to save its résumé. Boeheim’s bunch misses out on the Big Dance for the second year in a row.

Jonathon Hoppe: 19-12

This should be a fun season of Syracuse basketball. With all the new faces, it’s hard to predict how the season will go. With that said, I’m fairly optimistic. I think this new Syracuse team comes together at the right time in ACC play. As we saw last year, high expectations can be a burden for a young team. Luckily for Syracuse, there are little to no expectations for the Orange this season. If the guys can stay focused and lock in defensively, Syracuse should be able to win quite a few games. There’s not as much talent offensively, but the Orange should be able to figure out an offensive system in the early months. If SU doesn’t put forth its best effort each and every night, things could get ugly. Assuming that doesn’t happen, I think the Orange will surprise some people this year.

JD Raucci: 17-14

When it comes down to it, this SU basketball is just wildly inexperienced. Tyus Battle is the only returning starter for the Orange and he and Frank Howard are the only returners that played in every single game last season. With that being said, I still have some concerns about the backcourt situation. Howard was a turnover machine last season and from what we’ve seen through the first two exhibition games, it’s going to be more of the same. You just can’t have that from your starting point guard. As for the frontcourt, Jim Boeheim said that Matthew Moyer is his most experienced forward. The guy hasn’t even played a single minute in a regular season game. That’s even more concerning. It’s going to take a while for this team to gel because of the general inexperience it has and that’s a serious issue considering the Orange plays blue bloods Kansas, UCONN, Maryland and Georgetown in the non-conference. SU would be lucky to go .500 in those four games. And things don’t get any easier in conference play with the likes of Duke and North Carolina looming on the schedule. I think that SU will start to figure things out in the middle and back half of its ACC schedule, but eventually, its inability to get wins in the non-conference slate will see SU miss out on dancing for the second straight season. It won’t be all bad news for the Orange though. Watch for Oshae Brissett and Bourama Sidibe to have breakout freshmen seasons and build momentum toward what could be a special 2018-2019 season.
Tim Leonard: 16-15
SU’s got plenty of potential but at the end of the day they’re just too young. Without Tauren Thompson in the frontcourt, this team is going to struggle to score in the halfcourt and get banged around on the boards. Frank Howard will prove some naysayers wrong. SU fans will fall in love with Oshae Brissett and Tyus Battle will flash enough offensive game to become the latest Orange first round pick. I expect this team to finish with a couple quality wins in ACC play. However, after another rough non-conference slate it’s going to be too little too late for the second straight year.
Want a podcast preview of the season? Listen here.
The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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