In the 16-point loss to the 2nd-ranked Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday in Miami, we received more evidence and assurance that Jim Boeheim has found his most effective lineup.
Frank Howard, Tyus Battle, Oshae Brissett, Marek Dolezaj and Bourama Sidibe prove to be SU’s best five on the floor.
In a game where the Orange struggled to shoot the ball, and stop Kansas, a 19-4 second-half run sparked some life into Syracuse and cut the Jayhawks lead to single digits roughly midway through the half.
This isn’t anything new, but rather more evidence that when Syracuse is either down, in a tight game or in an important game — these five guys need to be on the floor.
Frank Howard is the team’s best point guard, and it’s not close right now. Howard Washington has the potential to be special at Syracuse, but he simply hasn’t gotten the run to prove he’s near Frank’s game right now.
Tyus Battle’s role needs no explanation. He’s the best player on the floor for the Orange when he’s out there.
Oshae Brissett has been pretty good so far this season. He’s had some issues making some shots, but he has three double-doubles, has rebounded the ball at a much higher rate than most expected and is proving to be a rising star.
Marek Dolezaj hustles more than anyone on the Syracuse team. He seems to always be in the right place and is a coach’s dream. He’s not dominant at any one thing, but can do a little bit of everything. I don’t envision him dropping 20+ points on anyone this season, but he’ll get you 5-8 points, 5-8 rebounds and a few steals each night.
Paschal Chuwku has been playing better as of late, but Bourama Sidibe is still the way to go. He’s more athletic, more physical and has a better understanding of what’s expected when he’s on the floor. His offensive game is further along than I thought it would be, and he’s impressed everyone with his defense. He didn’t play great against Kansas, but he’s a better option than Chukwu.
Now, we’ve known for a few games this is Syracuse’s best lineup. But seeing it against one of the best teams in the country, and what they’re capable of, only furthered the point.
With an important game coming up on Tuesday against UConn at The Garden, Syracuse will need these five guys to produce at a high level. The Huskies are struggling, and the Orange are in a great spot to improve to 7-1 before coming home to host Colgate on Dec. 9.