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How Does Kansas Winning the Title Affect Syracuse?

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The Kansas Jayhawks are infamous in Syracuse for one reason, and one reason only.

The picture above was in the forefront, while the 2003 Jayhawks walked off in the court without any extra baggage to take back to Lawrence. But after last night, Kansas leaves the New Orleans with a piece of hardware at the hip for the first time since 2008. Believe it or not, yesterday’s national championship game and result has a direct effect on college basketball next season and even next season’s Syracuse roster. Now before labeling that last sentence as farfetched, there is a distinct correlation.

Kansas ‘Starting 5’ in National Championship

G Dajuan Harris Jr. – REDSHIRT SOPHOMORE

G Christian Braun – JUNIOR

G Ochai Agbaji – SENIOR

F Jalen Wilson – REDSHIRT SOPHOMORE

C David McCormack – SENIOR

When taking into account that a redshirt year is a developmental season in which a player sits out but is still a part of the program, then the five players above, who saw the floor for 89% of minutes in the title game, have at least three years under their belt within the program. Add the most influential piece off the bench in Arizona State transfer Remy Martin, and that’s another senior to the mix. Kansas followed the veteran approach and it worked tenfold. This is not to say that this formula is the end-all-be-all every season, but with how mad March was this past year, experience prevailed.

If that’s the case next year, Syracuse is in deep trouble. SU’s six recruits are low hanging fruit right now. All are new, fresh, athletic, young and have the potential to be dynamic. But the names coming to Syracuse in the fall also bring along a lot of question marks. An example is Duke, who has struggled with just that, failing to win a championship in the last seven seasons, although earning high seeds when the NCAA tournament rolls around.

Similar situations to this year’s title-winning Kansas team are Michigan, Miami, Houston and even North Carolina, who all had success in this season’s Big Dance. Even Syracuse’s 2021 squad rode collegiate experience to a shocking sweet 16 run. Baylor won the national championship a season ago with upperclassmen occupying four of the Bears top five scoring roles.

The winning formula is set in place, and next season, the Orange are veering off the beaten path. This isn’t to say SU missing the tournament is a given, it’s just to simmer the idea that next year’s Syracuse team can surpass sweet 16 groups of old in year one.

Either way one leans, Syracuse’s future is very bright, with an extreme emphasis on the future. The 2022-2023 team is not build for “the now”. The transfer portal could solve that, but with how next season’s team is constructed as of today, the Orange have a three to four year window of building a culture, creating it, and letting it come to fruition as players adapt to the system. That’s the reality of the situation. This is not a ploy to allow leeway for next year’s team to flop, but it is a warning that March is not built for what SU is prepping for in ’22-’23.

Youth hasn’t even been the formula for winning the ACC tournament lately. Last season, seniors Michael Devoe and Moses Wright led Georgia Tech to the conference title. This year, Virginia Tech rode the coattails of junior Hunter Cattoor and redshirt senior Keve Aluma to shock youth-heavy Duke in the ACC title game.

The start of the season in November until to end of it in March won’t just be an uphill battle in terms of integrating a stellar freshman class into SU’s system, but also grappling and overcoming the probability that younger presences might succeed in the regular season, but not when it actually matters. These are a few hurdles to expect when brainstorming expectations of next year’s Jim Boeheim-led team. Plus, a way to bottle up the emotions of Syracuse not making the tournament this season, and relate this year’s champions to next season’s possible obstacles.

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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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