We’re getting very close to the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball season, and given how football’s gone, tip-off really can’t come fast enough. Expectations outside of the program don’t seem to be all that high, but we’ve also seen what happens when no one believes Jim Boeheim’s teams will amount to much.
So how does the TNIAAM staff see things shaking out? Everyone shares their predictions below.
Dave Stone: 24-13 (11-9 ACC), loss in Elite 8
Even with a myriad of new faces, I think Syracuse basketball has the athletes to do well this year and challenge the top teams in the ACC. It’s a down year for the league as a whole, so there is plenty of opportunity for SU to win games against the middle and lower ACC teams, with a surprise upset or two against the elite. By the end of the year, I can see this team starting to gel and pull things together for the NCAA tourney to make another ‘Cuse-like run. Bold prediction: Elijah Hughes earns first-team All-ACC honors.
Austin Lamb: 24-11 (12-8 ACC), loss in NCAA second round
With at least four reliable three-point shooters, the chances of a poor shooting night for the Orange are lower so won’t be subjected to as many low-scoring games as in recent years. Yes, the team is less experienced, but that should manifest itself more in turnovers and on the defensive end. Rebounding could also be an issue. Though in an ACC that returns no first- or second-team all-conference players, SU’s inexperience might not hurt them as much. Syracuse’s only non-conference loss winds up being at Georgetown, and the Orange finish in the middle of the ACC standings. SU receives an 8/9 seed in the NCAA Tournament and advance to the second round, where they’ll lose to a 1 seed.
Kevin Wall: 21-14 (10-10), loss in NCAA second round
The non-conference schedule should allow this Syracuse team the opportunity to pick up wins even as they play through mistakes and Jim Boeheim settles on his best rotation. Over the ACC regular season I think the Orange will be a .500 team and will win one game in both the ACC and NCAA Tournaments. While this team has more depth and outside shooting, the interior defense and rebounding is a concern. If Syracuse is going to make deeper tournament runs they will need to be a lot better rebounding than recent teams. It’ll be a fun team to watch but there will certainly be some frustrating moments.
Bobby Manning: 22-12, (12-8), loss in NCAA first round
Elijah Hughes raises their upside in spite of big questions at center and guard. Marek Dolezaj and Brycen Goodine give the Orange good chances to solve both and exceed expectations. Quincy Guerrier’s flashes add a new level, though maximizing all of those things require adjustments from where the team stands now. The big question: is the conference good enough this year to make 12-8 a safe entrance into March with no major road game as of now? I think so, but barely. This team’s floor is higher than many expect on the baseline “they lost four starters” fact. Five starters returned last year, and that meant nothing.
James Szuba: 22-13 (12-8), loss in NCAA second round
The 2019-20 season will look most similarly to Syracuse teams of recent vintage, with a good but not great showing in the non-conference and a few games above .500 in league play. Remember: The ACC is going to 20 league games beginning this season. Jim Boeheim finds a way to get another 20-win season, get his team a win in Greensboro for the conference tournament and just sneak into the NCAAs. That should put Syracuse in the No. 7 to No. 10 seed range for The Big Dance, in which the Orange will win its first game and fall in the Round of 32.
John Cassillo: 22-13 (10-10), loss in NCAA second round
This team will look much more dynamic on offense, and that’s progress enough for a young team that could bring pretty much everyone back next season. There will be growing pains on defense, and a head-scratching loss or two. But ball movement and threes keep them in most contests, and they pick up a big win or two en route to another NCAA Tournament bid. Something in the 9/10 range seems about fair.
Now it’s your turn...
What is your prediction for the 2019-20 Syracuse men’s basketball season?
This poll is closed
Winning the whole thing, obviously
ACC champs, but no national title
24-25 wins, Sweet 16 loss
22-23 wins, second round loss
First round NCAA loss