Better late than never! With less than one week left before Syracuse football suits up for the first game of the season, we have three storylines left in our countdown. Numbers 2 & 3 mesh well: 3: Syracuse Basketball and the ACC and 2: C.J. Fair's Season.
We say this every year but Syracuse comes into 2013-2014 a complete mystery. Gone are a bunch of talented stars who led us to a Final Four. Remaining is a potential POY candidate (C.J. Fair), a solid core of big men (Christmas, Coleman, Keita) an unknown quantity transfer (Michael Gbinije) and a bevy of freshmen who may or may not do anything. Can Syracuse prove themselves the elite of the ACC from the get-go or are we in for a step back while these guys find themselves? - Sean
Sean sums up all of the major questions to get us started. Gone are the days of rebuilding and here are the days of Syracuse reloading. If the trip through Canada showed anything, it's that the Orange have a potential star in Tyler Ennis with lots of great pieces in Trevor Cooney, Ron Patterson and Michael Gbinje all coming in to compliment Fair (get to him in a second) and a frontcourt of returning question marks in Coleman, Keita and Christmas.
I know the program has lost a ton of talent over the last three years, but given the in-coming recruiting class and returning talent it's easy to think Syracuse may be ready for another amazing year. Could that mean another top seed in the NCAA tournament? Maybe another run to the Final Four? I'm not into making bold preseason predictions, but I think Syracuse is going to win the national championship...OK, I don't think that, but I do think Syracuse should be a player in the national race all season long, which is certainly something to get excited about. -Matt
And that's the best part of this team. Last year's edition of JB's crew had very similar questions: can x step up as a leader, how will the freshmen play, does an inexperienced point guard matter? And ultimately, the team gelled just in time for the postseason. Now I'm with Matt: I'm not saying this team is a sure fire Final Four group. However, it's not hard to imagine Syracuse competing for the ACC title and watching young freshmen blossom throughout the season. Which leads us to...
C.J. Fair. He's really good. He's being asked to make the Brandon Triche transition from steady performer to leader this season. Unlike Triche, Fair showed off his consistency last season, averaging 14.5 a game, shooting 47% from the field and behind the arc while playing basically 35 minutes a game. He's on a shortlist of guys who can realistically win the ACC Player of the Year not by future of hyper alone. I'm a big fan of Fair's and there's no doubt that Fair will be expected to carry the Orange scoring in many early contests. He's worked on finishing with both hands and looked good shooting from the field in his Canadian action.
The Orange have had four conference player of the year award winners: Wesley Johnson, Hakim Warrick, Billy Owens and Derrick Coleman. It would be nothing short of awesome to see Fair be the first Orange to be named ACC Player of the Year.
BONUS: From Matt, of course.
Will Boeheim Punch A Reporter? - We've seen him hit microphones, we've seen him verbally bitch slap reporters, we've seen him throw chairs, but at some point Boeheim is going to really snap. I mean, this is the ACC, folks, there is a whole new crop of reporters to ask Boeheim about retirement. This past spring it reached what we thought was a boiling point, but here's guessing we actually haven't seen Boeheim's boiling point yet!