With very little time remaining until the 2017-18 men’s basketball season begins, rankings are popping up all over the place.
For the Syracuse Orange, this hasn’t necessarily been as joyous of an occasion as usual. The team’s low on experience and high on questions right now, but Jim Boeheim’s also been doing this awhile and has never had a losing season. There’s a pretty good chance he’ll figure this challenge out, to some extent.
The initial KenPom rankings exhibited some faith, putting Syracuse at 68th to start the year. That’s not NCAA Tournament-worthy, but it’s not incredibly far off. SU’s lack of experience or returning scoring hurt them there -- especially given the tough schedule.
But that’s at least based on some math. Over on CBS Sports, there’s no advanced metrics involved when putting SU all the way down at 87th. Matt Norlander explains, briefly:
“By my count, Jim Boeheim's never had a team this inexperienced. In deference to his coaching acumen, I've opted to put Cuse into the top 100. I also love Tyus Battle's game. The Orange will probably be fighting for an NIT spot.”
Maybe I’m using some Orange-colored glasses here, but I simply don’t see a world in which Syracuse would be outside the top 100 programs. Or at least can’t while Boeheim’s in charge. During ACC Media Day, SU players Tyus Battle and Frank Howard said the team was being underestimated. Accounts that consider dropping SU out of the top 100 seem to boost that idea.
Though Syracuse’s most recent recruiting class wasn’t littered with four- and five-stars, it’s four-deep with some promise, and adds USF transfer Geno Thorpe as well. Yes, the Orange will have to replace six of its top seven scorers from last year. No, I don’t think that’ll be as big of a problem as it seems like on paper.
For context, here are the programs Norlander lists just outside the top 100 (where he’d have us if Boeheim weren’t the coach): 101. UAB, 102. UT-Arlington, 103. Ball State, 104. Nebraska. He has Boston College at No. 99, likely defering to the Ky Bowman hype train as many have this offseason.
It’s not worth getting worked up about subjective rankings, but they can still frame conversation around the upcoming season. Here’s the full ACC rundown as well, for those looking for additional framing (and the Media Day preseason poll will be out today too):
10. Miami Hurricanes
61. N.C. State Wolfpack
87. Syracuse Orange
125. Clemson Tigers
153. Pittsburgh Panthers (hahahaha)