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Syracuse Basketball: ESPN Has High Hopes for Orange, Malachi Richardson in 2016-17

The end of a season: the time when everyone decides to predict the end of... next season.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The 2015-16 NCAA men's basketball season wrapped up just a few days ago. Ink's still being spilled about it as we speak, to be honest. Yet, the prediction game for NEXT season is already in full swing.

As far as ESPN's concerned, it sees a favorable outlook for our Syracuse Orange.

First, in terms of bracketology, Joe Lunardi ("shun the non-believer") sees SU grabbing a sixth seed in the East region. They'd start in Milwaukee against Wichita State, with a potential game against Xavier or UT-Arlington in round two. That doesn't line up with where ESPN sees the Orange for next year, but Lunardi does largely operate on his own.

That East region is key, since it wraps up in New York and Syracuse's second home, Madison Square Garden. If SU can grab better than a sixth seed, they could find themselves playing in Buffalo for the first two rounds, with MSG hosting the Sweet 16 and Elite 8, should they get that far. Syracuse will also play the ACC Tournament at Brooklyn's Barclays Center, meaning the team wouldn't have to leave the state for the postseason until the Final Four (again, should they make it that far). #TheDream

Elsewhere on ESPN, Malachi Richardson is also getting some love for next year. As's Chris Carlson points out, he comes in at no. 23 on John Gasaway's list of top 25 players for 2016-17 (insider).

Gasaway likes what he saw out of the standout freshman, but does note some needed improvements in terms of his shooting. He's also quick to point out that Richardson did make strides as the season wore on too. This assumes he returns to Syracuse next season too. We can hope, obviously, but nothing's guaranteed.


SO much time between now and the start of next season this fall. But it's nice to be noticed this early just the same. Should be another interesting offseason, leading up to a promising year come November.