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Syracuse basketball 2017-18 preview: Breaking down minutes by position

The TNIAAM crew gathered ‘round for another round table.

NCAA Basketball: Clemson at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The TNIAAM team is back in midseason form with another round table. This time we’re prognosticating the potential minutes breakdown of the Syracuse Orange basketball roster. With so many new faces on this year’s roster, the preseason lens tends to be a bit opaque, but let’s dive right in nonetheless.

Kevin Wall

PG - Frank Howard (65%), Howard Washington (25%), Geno Thorpe (10%)

SG - Tyus Battle (60%), Geno Thorpe (35%), Frank Howard (5%)

SF - Oshae Brissett (55%), Tyus Battle (35%), Marek Dolezaj (10%)

PF - Matthew Moyer (55%), Oshae Brissett (30%), Marek Dolezaj (15%)

C - Pascal Chukwu (65%), Bourama Sidibe (35%)

While putting this together I think I've shortchanged Geno Thorpe's minutes as he's probably going to be getting at least 20 minutes per night. That probably means more of a 3-guard line-up than we would probably like to see, but Syracuse is going to need guys who can score and I think Thorpe/Battle might be the two best scoring options in 17-18. Brissett's ability to contribute right away will be crucial to the Orange. Unlike the last two seasons, I don't think any of the Orange forwards can slide to the 5 for more than emergency situations.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

John Cassillo

PG - Frank Howard (40%), Howard Washington (35%), Tyus Battle (25%)

SG - Tyus Battle (50%) Geno Thorpe (40%), Frank Howard (10%)

SF - Oshae Brissett (55%), Geno Thorpe (35%), Matthew Moyer (15%)

PF - Matthew Moyer (50%), Oshae Brissett (15%), Bourama Sidibe (35%)

C - Pascal Chukwu (70%), Bourama Sidibe (30%)

You don’t realize the level of inexperience on this roster until you see it laid out above. Multiple freshman are going to play big minutes, and that’s assuming everyone stays healthy (please!). Ideally, would love to keep Marek Dolezaj redshirted if we can, but that means SU ends up pretty slim in the middle. I’ll take the risk. Expect most of the team’s backcourt players to fill numerous roles at once. Howard’s progression could dictate a lot of the team’s success.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Godnick

PG - Frank Howard (52.5%), Howard Washington (40%), Geno Thorpe (7.5%)

SG - Tyus Battle (92.5%), Geno Thorpe (7.5%)

SF - Oshae Brissett (65%), Geno Thorpe (35%)

PF - Matthew Moyer (52.5%), Marek Dolezaj (22.5%), Oshae Brissett (5%)

C - Paschal Chukwu (47.5%), Bourama Sidibe (45%), Marek Dolezaj (7.5%)

The minutes breakdown this year is very hard predict due to the uncertainty in the starting lineup. The Orange have many options in terms of height, athleticism, versatility, and shooting, but I went with a combination of athleticism and versatility. Frank Howard is going to be the likely starting point guard to start the season again, but he’s going to need to produce if he wants to finally keep that job. Even if Howard becomes a consistent factor it will be hard to keep both Geno Thorpe and Howard Washington on the bench. Thorpe can play both guard spots while Washington will be the primary ball handler when he checks in. Tyus Battle is the no brainer here as he’ll need to have a monster year for Syracuse to prove the doubters wrong—a monster year leads to a team high for minutes.

I went with O’Shae Brissett and Matthew Moyer as my three and four strictly because they give coach Jim Boeheim the ability to be versatile on both ends of the ball. Brissett’s athleticism will help him score in transition, while Moyer’s size and ball handling ability should confuse defenses in the half court. The real X-factor here is Paschal Chukwu and the question of whether he can finally figure it out. The 7’2” center has a chance to be a real force for the Orange, but due to injuries in the past I chose to limit the amount of minutes the big man will see. His likely backup will be Bourama Sidibe, a 6’10” forward who can dominate in the transition offense as well as down low on defense. He’ll have a chance to overtake Chukwu in the starting lineup if Paschal starts to have trouble early on, but for right now Sidibe should be focusing on learning the pace of play in college basketball.

The final piece to the puzzle is Marek Dolezaj, a lanky forward who can stroke it from deep. His size and shooting ability should find him minutes due to his potential impact on both sides of the ball.

James Szuba

PG - Frank Howard (75%), Howard Washington (25%)

SG - Tyus Battle (50%), Geno Thorpe (50%)

SF - Tyus Battle (37.5%), Oshae Brissett (62.5%)

PF - Oshae Brissett (25%), Matthew Moyer (75%)

C - Paschal Chukwu (62.5%), Bourama Sidibe (37.5%)

This is just a rough template for what I expect to see this season. I think Howard Washington is too good to leave on the bench and Syracuse will be forced to go three guard at times. That slides Tyus down to the forward, leaving minutes for Geno at two. I kept Marek Dolezaj out of the lineup on the assumption that the roster will be trimmed down to eight once ACC play starts.


Agree or disagree with the above? Don’t hesitate to give us your breakdown in the comment section below.