The Orange did not look to be an overly promising squad ahead of last season. At best they were a fringe tournament team, let alone one that could make a run at the Final Four. Just a testament to how things can change.
Change already made itself evident back in April, when ESPN ranked the Orange 17th in their Way-Too Early Top 25. Yet things have changed again, as Syracuse dropped down to 25th in a revision of that poll posted earlier on Tuesday. The most obvious and well-noted reason for the drop in ranking was due to Malachi Richardson's decision to declare for the NBA Draft after dominating March Madness and watching his stock soar after the NBA combine. As ESPN aptly put it, it was a move "which made sense. It also left a huge hole in Jim Boeheim's backcourt."
The bright side to this is that Syracuse has since added graduate transfer John Gillon to bring experience to the point guard position, allowing incoming freshman Tyus Battle to contribute from the two-guard spot where he is most comfortable. Paschal Chukwu will also be eligible to eat up major frontcourt minutes after the 7-foot-2 center sat out last season after transferring from Providence.
ESPN closes the analysis by pointing out the fact that "Boeheim's ability to mold size and length into a top-25 outfit is basically unparalleled."
Do you think this ranking does Syracuse justice? Let us know in the comments.