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Athlon ranks Syracuse 14th, predicts Sweet 16 run in NCAA Tournament

Tyus Battle and Syracuse find itself back on the cover for Athlon.

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Syracuse v Michigan State Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Syracuse Orange are no stranger to basketball cover appearances over at Athlon Sports, as will be the case again this year.

For those that haven’t seen it yet, Tyus Battle was chosen as the face of Athlon’s regional cover for the second year in a row. In the past, program representatives like Gerry McNamara, Brandon Triche, Rakeem Christmas and Trevor Cooney have also made cameos on the cover.

The magazine went ahead and previewed all 353 division one men’s basketball programs before of the 2018-2019 college basketball season, and ranked Syracuse No. 14. Athlon also picked Syracuse to finish fifth in the Atlantic Coast Conference behind only Duke, North Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech, respectively.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a preview without making March Madness prognostications, in which case Athlon projects Syracuse to earn a No. 4 seed in the east region and making it to the Sweet 16 for a second straight year. Interestingly enough, Athlon has Syracuse falling to Duke in the first game of the NCAA Tournament’s second weekend, which was also the case in the 2018 tournament.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Midwest Regional Practice
Syracuse practice before the 2018 Sweet 16.
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Starting at the beginning of its Syracuse profile, Athlon had this to say:

“There will be a rare air of familiarity surrounding the Syracuse Orange this season. For the first time since 2000, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim will return all five of his starters from the previous season. ‘I think it’s been 15 or 20 years since we’ve had everybody back,’ Boeheim says. ‘To have juniors and seniors is unheard of at our level.’”

On top of that, the mag has improved its college basketball coverage quite a bit, including a pretty accurate recap of the 2017-2018 Syracuse basketball season and a reasonable preview ahead for the upcoming year with a few nuggets mixed in. You can check your local Syracuse outlets for a copy, or order online by clicking the link here.

The Orange may have overachieved last year, but they did already make the Sweet 16. Would bringing back so much production from last year raise the stakes higher? Or just adjust expectations to a more realistic outcome (like this Sweet 16 pick)?

Share your own thoughts below — and don’t worry, we’ll have plenty more in terms of season previews and predictions coming soon.