If the biggest question facing Syracuse entering the season was whether the Orange could replace guards Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Triche, so far the newcomers have done a terrific job of answering it.
SU's chief athletic department communications officer Joe Giansante said the university "had a nice run" this morning on newly available tickets. Those tickets included seats in prime viewing areas that had previously been unavailable as single-game options.
The trio of Coffey, Fondren and Peterson will be on display Thursday as the No. 22 Orange (8-0) travels to Iowa City, Iowa, to face the No. 25 Hawkeyes (8-1) at 7 p.m. as part of the Big 10/ACC Challenge.
Syracuse freshman Tyler Ennis has averaged 17 points and 6.5 turnovers in the Orange's last four games. "I think it's pretty obvious,'' Boeheim said. "I don't know what people are looking at, but they're not watching performance. Obviously.''
Against Indiana, all the weaknesses of the Syracuse centers were exposed. Coleman tried to adjust to contact and contort his body as if he were a guard. Christmas had trouble hanging on the ball and brought the ball down after getting an offensive rebound instead of going straight up. And Baye just couldn’t get anything going on the offensive end. Yes, each player brings something on defense, but it is just a matter of time before the offensive shortcomings down low catch up to the Orange.
During the first handful of games of the season, Baye Moussa Keita, Rakeem Christmas and DaJuan Coleman formed an evident weakness in the Orange’s (8-0) starting lineup. The shredding against St. Francis (N.Y.) was just the pinnacle of the big men’s collective struggles.
"It was the weirdest thing," Maine said. "I was sitting with a group of three other people and they had already seen this. She was directly behind me, so I didn't really have a great view unless I turned around. I didn't realize at first, but as soon as I did, I just burst out laughing. I didn't know what else to do. It was really awkward."
Most of the national publications weren't brave enough to provide game-by-game predictions, but Syracuse out-performed the ACC Atlantic expectations of Phil Steele (7th), Lindy's (6th), USA Today (6th) and The Sporting News (5th).
"That was one of the main reasons I decided to come back for my senior year," Fair said. "I didn't have that go-to mentality. I didn't really experience it. So I knew coming back I would experience it and it would take me to another level."