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Syracuse basketball: Four reasons to get excited for the 2016-2017 season

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Basketball season is right around the corner. Are you ready? We promise not to ask if you’re in #CuseMode though.

NCAA Basketball: Elon University at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

You know the feeling all too well. The Syracuse basketball season ends in March (April if you’re lucky), the summer months drag and by August you’re so mentally stultified from watching your lawn grow that even Syracuse football sounds enticing.

Okay I take that back. There’s reasonable cause for excitement around the Syracuse football program despite being under .500. One can always find a silver lining and truth be told, good things are happening. But at the end of the day the football team sits on a 2-3 record — which is to be expected — and the paradigm starts to shift. This is the time of year where the excitement from football starts to taper off and the attention transitions towards Syracuse basketball. With that said, there’s a lot to be excited about heading into the 2016-2016 season.

New faces

Syracuse will boast a roster in which six guys who didn’t play a minute in Orange last season could vie for playing time. Syracuse brings in freshmen Matthew Moyer, Tyus Battle and Taurean Thompson. John Gillon and Andrew White are fifth-year transfers and Paschal Chuwku is now eligible after redshirting with the Orange last year. Time to pick a new favorite player.

Experience

Jim Boeheim could potentially implement a starting lineup with 21 years of college basketball experience. To spell that out, that’s three fifth-year seniors (White, Gillon, Dajuan Coleman), a four-year player in Tyler Roberson and sophomore Tyler Lydon. But that’s approximately only half of how much experience Boeheim has as head coach. The Heimer will embark on his 41st season as head coach of Syracuse. Yeah, he’s old.

Return of The Break

In the offseason Boeheim alluded to what he has in John Gillon at point. With length and athleticism at the forward and guard positions, it’s likely the Orange will get out in transition more this year. Who’s ready for some steals out of the 2-3 that lead to run outs and dunks at the other end? Alley-oop.

Defense

Needless to say, Syracuse has extreme length across the zone. It could go tall with Frank Howard, Andrew White, Tyler Lydon, Tyler Roberson and Paschal Chukwu — none of those players are under 6-foot-5. Opposing coaches will have nightmares trying to prepare for Syracuse’s length which will generate turnovers, force tough shots and help in the rebounding department. Syracuse has all the tools to be a top five defensive team this year.