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Where's The Love?

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You may have noticed when the recent early preseason college basketball polls started trickling in, the Big East was well represented. A plethora of conference teams were scattered all over the rankings, a bunch even warranting top ten mentions.

But where was Syracuse? Between the development of Flynn, Onuaku and Harris and the return of Eric Devendorf and Andy Rautins, surely we're worthy of a fringe Top 25 ranking, no? The question was posed to
Rivals.com's Andrew Skwara:

Whenever you take arguably the best player off a team that went to the NIT, it's tough to envision them improving a great deal. Greene ranked first on the team in scoring and blocks and third in rebounding.

I do think Syracuse will be better. The return of Devendorf and Rautins – both recovering from ACL tears – surely will help fix the depth issues in the backcourt that plagued the Orange down the stretch this past season. Flynn had to play almost 40 minutes in every game over the last month.

But I don't see how they can go from an NIT to the top 25 without Greene – especially not with the Big East poised to be extraordinarily tough next season. Six of the league's teams are currently in the Rivals.com top 15 and three are in our top four.

It's fair to say that we will miss Greene (Yes, we will...). He was only going to get better and develop his scoring game. That said, WAS Greene the best player on our team? You could make the argument that title went to Flynn. And you're talking about a developing NIT team that's about to get two solid leaders back on the court, each itching to regain their status and bring SU back to glory.

I'm not saying we should have been in the polls. I think the Big East is going to be monstrous and we're gonna have to fight and claw for ten conference wins. I'm just saying that a lot of people are falling into the same trap the NBA folks are with Greene. They've stopped thinking about his actual impact and just started applying his potential impact to the situation. We would have loved to have had Donte next year but realistically, with the talent already there, his absence will be a difference maker in a very marginal amount of games. The offense will adjust and the defense will...well...probably be better off for it. We'll be a different team than we would have been with Greene. Maybe not better, maybe not worse. Just different.

And to be honest, we're better off not getting mentioned in any of these polls anyway. Let the college basketball world forget about us for a while. Let them write us off. That's when we do our best work.