Orange Fizz


The Season of Experimentation Starts Now

Congratulations to the Duke Blue Devils for finally ushering Syracuse into the next stage of its season. The Orange have four games left, two at home, and two on the road. The travels start Wednesday at Clemson and continue over the weekend at Pittsburgh, both games the Orange will be underdogs in. Then, SU gets Georgia Tech at home next Tuesday, and Wake Forest at home next Saturday to close the season.

So, because of the loss to Duke, Syracuse now has the chance to use these next four regular season games, plus however many it plays in the ACC Tournament, to experiment with lineups, rotations, and schemes to see what could work for next season, who can find a groove, and who can potentially be an impact player moving forward. This SU team has a lot more questions than answers when it comes to the future of the roster and rotations. Whether that be if seniors Joe Girard III, Jesse Edwards, and Symir Torrence come back for a 5th season, which of the freshmen/sophomores transfers, or if Judah Mintz leaves for the NBA.

The games against Clemson and Pitt will be difficult, as Syracuse has only beaten Clemson once on its home floor, thanks to a Tyus Battle buzzer-beating three as time expired. Plus, the Tigers are motivated to avoid another bad loss to their NCAA Tournament resume after losing to Louisville and Boston College in recent weeks. For Pittsburgh, the Panthers are having one of the surprise seasons around the country, and after Tuesday’s win over Georgia Tech are 13-4 in the ACC and have reached the 20-win threshold for the first time since the 2015-16 season.

So, the Orange’s road tests provide perfect sites for experimenting with how SU can handle a road environment in late February, and if it can build some character and resolve moving forward. The Duke game was a struggle, but some of that pain can be erased with stronger showings on the road this week.

Then, there are the final two games of the home slate, first against a Georgia Tech team Syracuse beat by 17 in Atlanta in mid-January, and then hosting Wake Forest, another bubble team to close the year on what should be an incredible weekend in Central New York. With lots of festivities to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 2003 national championship, plus the jersey retirements of Gerry McNamara and Hakim Warrick, it should be very special.

The Georgia Tech game, at the very least, should be one the Orange win handily and can use that game to learn more about its players. Let Judah Mintz take more threes to build his confidence shooting the ball. Give players like Justin Taylor or Quadir Copeland some consistent extended minutes to build confidence. Let Mounir Hima prove if he can be something in the ACC. 

There are dozens more questions that could be answered, it’s just about if Jim Boeheim will use these games for that reason or just to keep padding his all-time win total, which isn’t a bad thing, but a win and learning more about your team might be the best combination possible as SU plans for the future before March, again.

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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