2016-2017 Overall Rank: #49
Conference Rank: #11 ACC
Syracuse had an average regular season, but a 9-9 record in ACC play was more than enough to make the NCAA Tournament. And the Orange currently made the most of their trip. After cruising past Dayton and tournament darling Middle Tennessee, Syracuse knocked off Gonzaga and Virginia on their way to the Final Four. But with some major losses on the perimeter, Coach Jim Boeheim will have trouble getting this team back to the NCAA Tournament.
2015-16 Record: 23-14, 9-9
2015-16 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Jim Boeheim
Coach Record: 888-347 at Syracuse, 888-347 overall
The Orange lost Malachi Richardson after his freshman campaign. He entered the NBA Draft after averaging 13.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists and was selected 22nd overall. Losing him after just one year really hurts. That is especially true because Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney are also gone. Gbinije led the team with 17.5 points, 4.3 assists and 1.9 steals and added 4.1 rebounds. He was a great floor leader and no single player is going to come close to replacing all of that production. Cooney and Gbinije combined to knock down 183 three-pointers. Without those three in the backcourt, this team is going to look very, very different. Chinonso Obokoh and Kaleb Joseph, who saw limited minutes last season, are also gone.
Much of the perimeter production will need to come from the newcomers. John Gillon, a graduate transfer from Colorado State, is the most experienced option. Gillon can run the point or play off the ball and he has proven that he can do either with the Rams. Last year he averaged 13.2 points and 3.8 assists at Colorado State and he will have the opportunity to put up similar numbers with Syracuse. Like Gillon, incoming freshman Tyus Battle could step into a starting lineup. Starting or not, Battle will have to play major minutes. At 6-6, he will pick up plenty of steals in the Syracuse zone, but he is tough too and can help replace the shooting lost with Gbinije and Cooney. The late addition of graduate transfer Andrew White should help take the pressure off of Battle. White averaged 16.6 points and 5.9 rebounds during his lone season with the Cornhuskers. At 6-7, he is a great fit for the Orange on both ends of the floor. Ray Featherstone is the only newcomer on the perimeter, but he will not see much playing time. The frontcourt adds incoming freshmen Matthew Moyer and Taurean Thompson as well as transfers Braedon Bayer and Paschal Chukwu. Moyer and Chukwu, who transferred in from Providence, should provide much of the frontcourt depth.
Who to Watch:
Forwards Tyler Roberson, DaJuan Coleman and Tyler Lydon are by far the most experienced players on the team. Roberson and Coleman started all 37 games last season. Roberson averaged 8.8 points and 8.5 rebounds and is a monster on the glass. At 6-9 and 258 pounds, Coleman is the big body in the paint. He is not going to score too much, but he can block some shots. Lydon is the more dynamic forward who can step outside and knock down shots. Despite not starting a single game last season, Lydon averaged 10.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.8 blocks. With those three, Syracuse has plenty of very good options.
The problem is on the perimeter. Gillon and White certainly help, but the only returning experienced player is Franklin Howard, who averaged just 10.5 minutes per game as a freshman last season. He is not much of a scorer, but Howard is a true point guard and can quickly become a leader of this team. If Howard can handle the point, that will allow Gillon to move to shooting guard and suddenly the complete lack of experience in this system on the perimeter does not look all that bad. However, this team is still not as good as they were last season. And while Syracuse did make an impressive run to the Final Four, they barely made the NCAA Tournament. If this team cannot improve defensively and find some talent that can effectively replace Gbijije, Richardson and Cooney, they could end up on the wrong side of the bubble.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Franklin Howard, Sophomore, Guard, 1.6 points per game
John Gillon, Senior, Guard, 13.2 points per game (at Colorado State)
Andrew White, Senior, Guard, 16.6 points per game (at Nebraska)
Tyler Roberson, Senior, Forward, 8.8 points per game
DaJuan Coleman, Senior, Center, 4.9 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 70.0 (248th in nation, 13th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.1 (30, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.5 (248, 14)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.2 (59, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.5 (52, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.0 (115, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.8 (213, 13)
Rebound Margin: -1.0 (222, 14)
Assists Per Game: 13.5 (161, 7)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.9 (98, 11)
Madness 2017 NBA Draft Rankings:
#10 Tyler Lydon
Madness 2016 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#33 Tyus Battle
#65 Matthew Moyer