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What does Success vs. Lafayette Look Like?

Syracuse is giving Lafayette 22.5 points. It’s far from a hot take to say last year’s opener against Bryant was a complete failure. Surviving by one point at home and losing your center for basically the rest of the season set SU up for early season struggles. Here’s what the Orange have to do to get off to the right foot.

Stay Healthy

Duh, but stay with me. There is no reason that any SU fan should have to believe that Bourama Sidibe will be able to play a full season once he returns from his preseason knee troubles. That means the center position, as always, will be vulnerable. If Jesse Edwards or even Frank Anselem gets banged up early in the season, there won’t be another big to spell the other. There’s no forward tall enough on this team to bail Jim Boeheim out this year. The backup option after the two active centers is 6-foot-8 forward Jimmy Boeheim in the middle of the Zone. While it would be fun offensively, imagine how exposed the baseline would be.

Defend the Perimeter

Syracuse was second best in the ACC last year in perimeter defense. There’s really no reason that shouldn’t continue. But if there’s one thing Lafayette does well, it’s shoot. Under Fran O’Hanlon, the Leopards ranked 1st in the Patriot League in three-pointers made in each of the past 15 seasons. That’s why Lafayette is a fantastic tune-up non conference opponent. Teams will continue to try and beat the Zone from range. It’s up to Buddy Boeheim, Joe Girard, and whichever wings the coaching staff goes with, to make those attempts feudal.

Stop #45

This guy is going to give Syracuse fans a headache tonight. Neil Quinn is one of the best passing big men in the nation. The then-sophomore was 10th nationally last season in assist rate. Oh, and by the way, he’s 7-foot, 260 lbs. Quinn is going to be the ideal player in the free throw line area in the teeth of the Zone because he can use his physicality to finish at the rim and use his vision to feed the shooters. Quinn is developing his offensive skillset, but it doesn’t seem like he will be the best mid-range shooter on the floor, so that might be Syracuse’s best bet.

Someone has to Burst on the Scene

This is Buddy’s team. But with the loss of Alan Griffin (NBA), Marek Dolezaj (European professional basketball), Quincy Guerrier (Oregon), Woody Newton (Oklahoma State) and Robert Braswell (Charlotte), Jim Boeheim insisted that this team is going to be alright with the reinforcements that came through the transfer portal. Cole Swider seems like the likely candidate to pick up a lot of the slack. At first, the Villanova transfer will get a lot of open shots with Buddy and Girard drawing a lot of the attention of the defense. Then again, it could be any one of the other newcomers that step up to reassure the fanbase the mass exodus from the program will not sink the Orange.

Make sure to keep it locked to our Twitter @OrangeFizz for updates on the game tonight, starting at 7 p.m.

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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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