As it hit the nine-game mark of the season, Syracuse is on track for what is shaping up to be a potentially successful campaign. The Orange are currently 8-1 and Jim Boeheim believes his squad can still improve significantly on their recent performances.
After losing the majority of their offense last year with graduate transfers John Gillon and Andrew White both leaving to join the G League, it was expected the team would struggle offensively. Forward Tyler Lydon also departed as he tries to crack into the NBA with the Denver Nuggets after being drafted by the Utah Jazz.
The Nuggets will be hoping the Syracuse youngster can bring them some extra firepower on the court, with the team struggling to make the playoffs in the NBA’s West. Currently, they are with the struggling Oklahoma City Thunder making everyone scratch their heads in the Northwest division.
Unfortunately for the Orange, though, losing their key players has had an immediate impact on their attacking ability and the side is only averaging 72.3 points a game while shooting at 43.3 percent. Luckily for Syracuse, Tyus Battle, the one remaining starter from last season, is averaging 20.3 points and the team has been relying heavily on his performances at this early stage.
Now it’s time for the new talent coming through the ranks to step up and make their mark on the squad. Some of the new players are starting to get into their groove and freshman Oshae Brissett, in particular, has been putting in some fantastic effort on the court. , he had 16 points and ten rebounds, giving the player his fourth double-double of the season. The Canadian from Ontario has been a welcomed surprise for the Orange, averaging 12.8 points and 9.8 rebounds so far this season.
Boeheim said that he wanted to be better defensively this year after his squad finished 19-15 last campaign and 10-8 in the ACC. That goal seems to be coming to fruition with the Orange’s only loss to date coming against No.2 Kansas. The Jayhawks are an extremely talented team, though, and allowing an average of just 62 points per game, which is tied for 24th nationally.
It remains to be seen how they will deal playing the big teams, with the six opponents they recorded a victory against all sitting outside the AP Top 25. Boeheim feels that it’s all just a learning curve at the moment for some of these young players and it will help them going into ACC play and be good preparation for the squad.
Right now, Boeheim is just happy to be getting the wins on the board as they prepare to open their conference play at home against Virginia Tech on New Year’s Eve. Hopefully, SU can build a team to a level that will be good enough for the NCAA tournament and the Selection Committee.