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Syracuse men’s basketball: Midseason grades

Taking stock of the 10-6 Orange

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve reached the halfway point of the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball season. With 16 of the guaranteed 32 games (31 in the regular season + at least one in the ACC Tournament) completed, the TNIAAM staff are here to give our thoughts on the team’s performance so far.

Mike: The consensus in our preseason predictions was that ‘Cuse should be between NIT bound and a double-digit Tournament team... but that was counting on the Orange playing well to start the year. They did not. Brutal bye-game losses to Colgate and Bryant, combined with much of the freshman class underperforming, means that it’s looking like another year where even the NIT is not guaranteed. What has been guaranteed is how SU comes out flat to start each and every game - and that’s unacceptable at this point. I will credit Judah Mintz for mostly living up to the hype.

Grade: C

Kevin: I expected Syracuse to be better at this point in the season. With tougher games looming, we could see a great rebound or a second straight disappointing season. As individuals I think many are playing at or above pre-season expectations, but they have struggled to all click at the same time. It’s January and this team still lacks an identity. While I expect they knock off a couple of better teams down the stretch, I think we’re getting a couple more regrettable losses as well.

Grade: C-

NCAA Basketball: Colgate at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Szuba: We knew there would be some growing pains associated with a relatively inexperienced Syracuse team, but the Orange has managed to play below preseason expectations. The defense, statistically speaking, mirrors that of the 2016-17 team, and offensively Syracuse is still looking for consistent production beyond the troika of Mintz, Girard, and Edwards. There isn’t much that would suggest this team has a path to an at-large NCAA Tournament berth, still devoid of a win over a top-100 team in college basketball.

Grade: C-

Dom: I’ll be the biggest pessimist out of this roundtable, but I really thought this team had the upside to perform better, especially considering both a) how easy the Orange’s pre-conference schedule was and b) with how wide-open this year’s ACC looks with both Duke and Carolina performing below their respective expectations. I made the case a month ago that Syracuse could’ve entered ACC play hot. Instead, early season losses to Colgate, Bryant, and St. John’s derailed any hopes of a strong start. Similar to what James said above, but it’s hard to take this season as a serious NCAA Tournament contender with an 0-3 record against Quad 1 and 2 opponents, and just a 3-3 record against Quad 3 programs.

Grade: D+


Now it’s your turn. What mid-season grade would you give the Orange?