Perhaps this subject has been discussed to death already, but lets compare this years team to the 2003 team. Since all know both teams were/are awesome, its only natural I suppose so here we go with the player-by-player breakdown:
Wes Johnson - Carmelo. Obviously because he is the best player, and a do-it-all type guy. Wes isn't a freshman, but this is his first and likely only year at SU. Also like 'melo, likely top-5 pick in the NBA draft and arguably the best player in college right now.
Andy Rautins - Kueth Duany. Rautins IMO is much better than Duany, but Duany was clearly a senior leader, fan-favorite and glue-guy. He could and did do whatever the team needed of him, just like Andy. Even when that meant stepping aside and letting others have the spotlight.
Brandon Triche - Gerry McNamara. While Brandon is not and will never be the shooter Gerry was, both are some of the best freshman PGs to set foot on the SU campus. Both were/are capable scorers and have played at a level thats well beyond their years. Also, Brandon is a local guy, and Gerry might as well be (much to the chagrin Syracuse fans and Kia dealers all over Scranton, PA).
AO - McNeil. While AO is a much better scorer, both are shorter, wide-body centers and remind me a lot of Otis Hill from the '96 team. And both suck at the FT line.
Rick Jackson - Tough call here, because no one from the '03 squad really fits. So I'm going with Craig-Nasty. Craig was a true center but seemed to play shorter than the 7' he actually was. Craig was reliable, but split time at center with McNeil. Similarly, Rick is a reliable scorer/rebounder, is shorter than 7' and splits time at center with AO.
KJo - Hakim. The way Joseph has burst onto the scene this year as a sophomore is just as striking as Hak's breakout sophomore year in 2003. Both have a knack for getting around the rim, rebounding and throwing down some nice dunks. The fact that KJo is doing it as a bench player is even more amazing to me.
Scoop - Josh Pace. While Scoop is a PG, both bring that combination of depth/experience/talent to the team. Both are guys I have 100% faith in driving into the lane and scoring, but for some reason I'm still amazed at how consistent they were in that respect.
Mookie - Billey Edelin. Mook def. won't contribute in the 2nd half of the season that Billy did, but their the resident drama queens for their respective teams. In the end, that level of drama is a minor annoyance compared to other teams.
To top it off, both of these teams were grossly underrated from the beginning of the season, and caught fans and the media completely off-gaurd. But both teams showed steady improvement throughout the season. Both have capable and potential future stars as bench players. And most of all both teams have incredible balance between leadership, youth and star power. That beings said, March is still a ways off, but I think this years team might even be better than '03. Thoughts?