Wednesday’s NBA Draft deadline inspired a brand new round of very early top 25 rankings from college basketball outlets around the web.
ESPN shares the most love, putting Syracuse all the way up at No. 16 now:
What if Battle, Oshae Brissett (14.9 PPG, 8.8 RPG) and Frank Howard help the Orange start the 2018-19 season the way they ended 2017-18 (with wins over Arizona State, TCU and Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament)? A strong opening chapter would make Cuse fans forget Darius Bazley picked the G League over a year with Boeheim.
Meanwhile, CBS Sports has as 22nd.
The top six scorers from a team that finished 41st at KenPom and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament should be back -- among them Tyus Battle, who withdrew from the NBA Draft at the deadline. So the Orange should be good enough to make the NCAA Tournament for the third time in a four-year span -- and maybe compete for a trip to the second weekend.
The Orange have no depth and very little perimeter shooting this side of Buddy Boeheim, but with Tyus Battle back in the fold, I think this Orange team will be able to scrape together enough ugly, grind-it-out wins to be in and around the top 25 all season.
Other lists are bound to come out soon, and it seems probable that Syracuse is included in those as well. It’s felt like awhile (for this program, anyway) since we’ve been in the national conversation for preseason, so nice to see national outlets taking notice this early.