They might have peaked somewhere around No. 3 in many way-too-early polls back in April but the Syracuse Orange basketball team that will actually take the floor in 2009-2010 is checking in at No. 25 to kick things off. Here's what USA Today has to say about it's final Top 25 participant.
Orange will have different look following the departure of several mainstays, including star point guard Jonny Flynn. Wing Andy Rautins is back with F Rick Jackson and C Arinze Onuaku. F Wes Johnson, an Iowa State transfer, is expected to be a big contributor.
That's pretty much the party line for every preview of Syracuse so far.
The Big East is well represented with six teams though unlike last year, they're bottom-heavy in the Top 25 instead of top-heavy. In other words, folks aren't nearly as high on the conference as they used to be. Villanova leads the way at No. 6 followed by No. 9 West Virginia, No. 14 Connecticut, No. 21 Georgetown, No. 23 Louisville and the Orange. Notre Dame and Pittsburgh both received votes as well.
As Mike Waters notes, all three teams that the Orange could face in the 2K Sports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic are currently ranked (No. 12 Cal, No. 4 North Carolina & No. 17 Ohio State). Syracuse early-season opponent Cornell is also among the "also receiving votes" selections.