#10 Syracuse Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Syracuse Orange

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #10
Conference Rank: #3 ACC

Syracuse Team Page#10 Syracuse Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy Syracuse Basketball Tickets

Syracuse is headed to the ACC and their new conference foes will have trouble adjusting to Coach Jim Boeheim’s zone defense. En route to the Final Four, the Orange allowed an average of 45.8 points in their four tournament wins. They held Montana to 34 points, Cal to 60, Indiana to 50 and Marquette to a mere 39 points. And Marquette is a team that is a familiar with their zone defense. In the Final Four, Syracuse ran into a bad matchup against Michigan, a team capable of shooting over the zone. However, the Orange are looking for another trip to the Final Four and this group can do it if the freshmen are not playing like freshmen by March.

2012-13 Record: 30-10, 11-7 (Big East)
2012-13 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Jim Boeheim
Coach Record: 920-313 at Syracuse, 920-313 overall

Who’s Out:
The Syracuse frontcourt gets a lot of the credit for the team’s success, and rightfully so, but the losses in the backcourt are absolutely huge. Michael Carter-Williams made the offense tick. The point guard was never much of a shooter, but he averaged an amazing 7.3 assists per game and added 11.9 points and 2.8 steals. His backcourt mate, Brandon Triche, was second on the team in scoring with 13.6 points per game and second to Carter-Williams in assists. James Southerland was not a regular starter during his senior season, but the 6-8 forward did average 13.3 points per game and connected on 39.8 percent of his many attempts from beyond the arc.

Who’s In:
A couple of newcomers will be in the mix in the backcourt. Most notable is probable starting point guard Tyler Ennis. The freshman is going to make some mistakes along the way, yet he is a superb playmaker and is expected to develop into a great leader, even as a freshman. Like Carter-Williams, Ennis is not much of a shooter, but if he can even come close to replacing his predecessor’s production, he will be doing his job. Tyler Roberson, another talented incoming freshman, will get an opportunity to replace Triche. However, Michael Gbinije may be the better option to take over the starting shooting guard spot. Gbinije spent one season at Duke where he averaged just 1.7 points per game. Yet, the 6-7 wing is a superb athlete and a great fit defensively. B.J. Johnson, a 6-7 small forward, needs to spend some time in the weight room before making much of an impact and power forwards Tyler Roberson and Chinonso Obokoh will have time to develop. Roberson is an interesting shooting option though and there may be room for him in the regular rotation with Southerland gone.

Who to Watch:
The starters in the frontcourt are covered though, so Roberson and Obokoh will only need to provide a little depth. C.J. Fair, DaJuan Coleman and Rakeem Christmas form a great starting frontcourt trio. Fair led the team with 14.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in 2012-2013. He is a dynamic scoring threat who connected on 46.9 percent of his attempts from three-point territory. He only took 64 shots from beyond the arc, but he is always a threat to shoot over smaller defenders. Coleman showed promise as a freshman until a knee injury derailed his progress. Even though he was only available for 24 games, Coleman started 20 contests and averaged 4.8 points and 4.0 rebounds. He is not going to be a dominating interior scorer, but he is a tough rebounder. Christmas is a more experienced Coleman, as much of his offense will too come from offensive rebounds. However, Christmas is a shot blocker and if the opposition can somehow manage to get through the perimeter zone defense, they will have Christmas to deal with. Jerami Grant had a decent freshman campaign and will be Fair’s primary backup, while Baye Moussa Keita will be the shot blocking presence in the paint when Christmas needs a rest.

Final Projection:
The defensive presence will keep Syracuse in just about every game, but somebody needs to help Fair offensively. The big men have potential, but are not likely to consistently score in double figures. Trevor Cooney came to Syracuse a couple years back with the reputation of a shooter. We have yet to see it. Last season he averaged 3.4 points per game and connected on just 26.7 percent of his 105 attempts from long range. Cooney will compete with Gbinije and Patterson for minutes beside Ennis in the backcourt. For now the winner of that starting gig will be the one who can score. If scorers develop elsewhere, it would allow Coach Boeheim to play Gbinije more often, who is a better defender.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Tyler Ennis, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Trevor Cooney, Sophomore, Guard, 3.4 points per game
C.J. Fair, Senior, Forward, 14.5 points per game
DaJuan Coleman, Sophomore, Forward, 4.8 points per game
Rakeem Christmas, Junior, Forward, 5.1 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 70.4 (97th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.7 (20, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.9 (136, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 36.9 (3, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.8 (205, 8)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.4 (195, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.5 (232, 11)
Rebound Margin: 3.5 (71, 6)
Assists Per Game: 14.1 (87, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.4 (101, 7)

Madness 2014 NBA Draft Rankings:
#16 Jerami Grant
#31 C.J. Fair
#97 Rakeem Christmas

Madness 2013 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#34 Tyler Ennis
#40 Tyler Roberson
#128 B.J. Johnson


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