It’s a tradition unlike any other. The college basketball season wraps up and the next morning national reporters are already onto the next year. Less than 24 hours after Baylor’s National Championship win, there are a litany of “way-too-early” rankings out there. Although it may seem like a ridiculous exercise, especially with the wild transfer portal this year, let’s hop on the craze and see where Syracuse is ranked in these polls.
Jeff Goodman – #13 Syracuse
Jeff Goodman of Stadium really likes Syracuse. He points out that four starters could return, which is true but may not come to fruition. He is impressed with Cole Swider and Benny Williams, the former I tend not to agree with, but the latter I love. The only other ACC teams Goodman has above SU is Duke and Florida State. Third in the ACC? Not too shabby if it holds true.
Jeff Borzello – #14 Syracuse
ESPN’s Jeff Borzello is also pretty high on the Orange, slotting them in the top-15. Now, he does begin his explanation with “another team I might be overeating based on their March performance.” Personally, I think that is the case for a lot of these rankings. Recency bias is real and it seems to be in play here. Borzello also sings the praises of Buddy Boeheim, Alan Griffin and Quincy Guerrier, saying they “are one of the best offensive trios you’ll find in the ACC.” That’s if Griffin stays and Guerrier doesn’t elect to go to the NBA.
Scott Gleeson – #16 Syracuse
Scott Gleeson of USA Today slots Syracuse at No. 16, which is two spots before Virginia and three better than North Carolina. He, too, assumes that Guerrier and Griffin will be back, despite those not being guaranteed. However, yet again the Orange are the third best team in the ACC according to this poll.
Andy Katz – #19 Syracuse
The NCAA’s Andy Katz’s poll looks much different from the others. He pushes the Orange back a bit, which isn’t the major difference, he just isn’t as high on some teams as the other polls. For example, the other three polls have Duke as an average No. 7, but Katz has the Blue Devils behind the Orange at No. 20. UNC, FSU and VT are all ranked above SU in his rankings. As for why Katz has Syracuse in the top-20, his explanation is pretty simple, “four words– Buddy Boeheim is back.”
Overall, it seems like a lot of these rankings have some serious recency bias. Can we blame them? No, that’s why they’re called “way-too-early.” These writers are assuming Griffin, Guerrier, and Dolezaj are coming back and all believe Buddy can consistently do what he did in the tournament, which just isn’t realistic. Plus, they are very much undervaluing the loss of Kadary Richmond.
Will Syracuse be a good team next year? Yes. Will the Orange be top-20 nationally and top-three in the ACC? Eh, I’m not too sure about that. I’d put SU just outside the top-25, in the low 30’s with a ginormous asterisk because of the transfer portal if I was making one of these rankings. But, hey, I’d love to be proven wrong.