On Friday night the Syracuse Orange men's and women's basketball teams tipped off their annual Orange Madness event. With the season almost upon us, here are five reasons why fans will enjoy watching this year's men's basketball team.
Syracuse struggled mightily from the offensive end last season shooting 43 percent from the field and 30.1 percent from three point land. With B.J. Johnson (30.7 FG%) and Ron Patterson (31.3 FG%) gone and multiple scoring threats joining this year's team, there's reason to believe that Syracuse will be better on the offensive end.
Jim Boeheim said he was looking to have his team shoot 25-30 threes per game this season. (Syracuse shot 16.61 threes per contest last season to give you an idea) What's more, he thinks this team could shoot between 35 and 40 percent from range. With Trevor Cooney, Michael Gbinije, Malachi Richardson and Tyler Lydon in the fold, Syracuse will be a real threat from beyond the arc. Kaleb Joseph, now known as the bloodshooter, seems to have improved his jumpshot and it looks like Frank Howard has a nice stroke too. This should free up Cooney for some easier looks. With a spread floor there will be more room for passing and driving angles and should free up Coleman and Tyler Roberson inside.
3: Veteran Play
Between Cooney, Gbinije and DaJuan Coleman, the troika have 14 years* of college basketball experience. That comes with an asterisk as Coleman hasn't played in essentially two of those years, but he has been around the program. There's no substitute for experience.
4: Exciting Freshmen
Syracuse has a trio of freshmen that are worth getting excited about. Richardson, Lydon and Howard were all ESPN 100 recruits. The three freshmen are 6-foot-6, 6-foot-8 and 6-foot-5, respectively. Richardson has a pretty jumpshot that he will rely heavily on this year. Lydon also has a sweet stroke but his jumper is coupled with athleticism that is akin to James Southerland. Howard is another tall Syracuse guard that can play either the point or off guard. He's more of a jack of all trades with an ability to knock down shots, get in the lane to take advantage of his floater and has good court vision. Howard is a solid passer as well. With this talented freshmen class, the future looks bright in orange.
5: Tournament Incentive
Remember watching the ACC and NCAA Tournament only to not watch Syracuse participate? Or maybe you were so disappointed you boycotted both post-season tournaments. Well that empty feeling is gone and now this year's team has an opportunity to play in both, making this season much more exciting.
See what Jim Boeheim had to say at Media Day below heading into his 40th year as head coach of Syracuse.