Being ranked among the top 15-20 teams in the nation usually means you stand SOME chance at winning a national championship. Still, it’s nice to see it in writing from a third-party.
CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander wrote up quick blurbs on his 19 national title contenders last week, and the Syracuse Orange were included as a darkhorse on the list (along with Louisville, Gonzaga, St. Mary’s and Purdue). Norlander had this to say about SU:
“The Orange made their way to the Final Four last season after some thought SU was a borderline tournament team heading into Selection Sunday. Now a weird turn of events. Malachi Richardson left early for the draft. Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbinije graduated. Yet SU's roster looks better and much deeper this season. Paschal Chukwu (via Providence) and Andrew White (via Nebraska) will help Tyler Lydon, Tyler Roberson and DaJaun Coleman in the frontcourt. Boeheim will have fun with that rotation. The backcourt is young. SU has serious size. Matthew Moyer is the freshman I want to see here. The Orange will not be short on options at all; if anything, establishing chemistry is the big key here. But yes, this team is talented enough to win big in March again.”
All of those reasons make sense, and they’ve been echoed elsewhere too. SB Nation said similar things when listing Syracuse as the 12th-ranked team in the nation. And if this defense can gel quickly, there’s reason to believe the talent on the roster could carry them to Phoenix.
The other teams Norlander lists all make sense and are pretty familiar to Syracuse. No. 1 Duke leads the way, and Villanova’s also on the short list of favorites. North Carolina and ACC/Big Ten Challenge opponent Wisconsin are also seen as legitimate contenders, while Louisville is in a larger group of fringe candidates with SU, Virginia and NC State in the ACC.
Without jinxing the season ahead, what do you think? Is SU a title contender? Is another apology tour in store for the Orange and Jim Boeheim? Share your thoughts below.