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How Can Syracuse Prove Joe Lunardi Wrong?

Syracuse is coming off its worst season in the Jim Boeheim era. SU finished with a losing record for the first time in the Hall of Famer’s 46-year tenure. That has created a tense vibe around Orange fans, many of whom are calling for Boeheim to step down. ESPN analyst Joe Lunardi offered his preseason prediction as to what the NCAA Tournament may look like on Tuesday.

Unsurprisingly, Syracuse was not featured at all, not even on the bubble. Why should it be coming off of the trainwreck that was 2021-22?

It’s no secret that SU faithful were left feeling down in the doldrums after last season. But bear with us. Even though Lunardi clearly isn’t optimistic about this year’s squad, here are some reasons why the ESPN analyst could be underestimating the Orange.

A wounded animal always fights back harder. Frankly, all the returning players on Syracuse’s squad should feel embarrassed with all of the avoidable close losses. The good news is that’s fuel to the fire. The four returners who saw significant minutes last season in Joe Girard, Jesse Edwards, Symir Torrence, and Benny Williams all have a lot to prove this season, which isn’t being talked about enough. Oh, you know who else has something to prove? Coach Boeheim, because we all know he’d love to talk smack to the Central New Yorkers calling for his pink slip out of here.

So you’ve got four ticked-off players and a ticked-off head coach back in the fold. That’s nice, but you know what may be even nicer? How about arguably the best recruiting class Boeheim has brought in in recent memory? If the six freshmen (and transfer Mounir Hima) play up to the hype they’re getting from Central New Yorkers, the ceiling for this team will skyrocket.

We at the Fizz said it was tournament-or-bust on an episode of Fizz Five a few weeks ago. Lunardi clearly doesn’t think so. That being said, Boeheim isn’t getting any younger, the Class of ’23 remains as empty as candy stores on November 1, and with the uncertainty of college basketball’s transfer portal any of the prized freshmen could be gone after this season. Boeheim, his assistant coaches, and his players have quite the workload in front of them to get the fans and national media members like Lunardi invested in this team again. But don’t rule it out.

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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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