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Syracuse Basketball: Four things to look for in the first exhibition game

With the regular season arriving soon, the Syracuse Orange begin with a pair of exhibition games

NCAA Basketball: ACC Operation Basketball
What will Syracuse Orange head coach Jim Boeheim have in store for Tuesday night?
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The season has arrived. That is, if you’re into preseason action at least. The Syracuse Orange open their exhibition play against Indiana University (PA.) Tuesday night at the Carrier Dome. The highly anticipated season is finally here, and now it’s time for the Orange to put on a show. This year should be full of excitement, both negative and positive, but Tuesday is a chance for the fans, and most importantly coach Jim Boeheim, to see what his team has to offer.

Who is starting for this team

This is a good problem to have. However, it’s still a “problem” and Boeheim needs to figure out who his five is—fast. Boeheim is lucky enough to have the possibility of going nine-deep, but at the end of the day he needs five guys to set the tone early for the Orange.

For this team to reach its full potential, Boeheim needs all players on the team to accept their role and thrive in it. There’s only one ball for five guys on the floor, and if tension starts to escalate between teammates, this hopeful season will turn into a lost cause. The Crimson Hawks will not give the Orange a true test, but any sign of chemistry between this new roster will be a success for the coaching staff.

How good can Tyus Battle be?

As Boeheim has said before, Tyus Battle is going to “play in the NBA for a long time.” That’s good to hear from such a trusted basketball mind, but Syracuse fans don’t care about his performance in the NBA. What they want is a star to play in the Carrier Dome, and Battle is expected to be that guy.

Battle made an early explosion as he put on quite the display at Orange Madness. Tuesday night is his first chance to compete against collegiate completion, besides his own teammates, and there is nothing but anticipation on the Syracuse campus. This is surely not going to be Battle’s toughest competition this year, but it will be his first taste of college basketball and Syracuse’s first taste of the future.

How much did Tyler Lydon improve?

For this team to reach its goals, Lydon needs to be their guy throughout the season. Lydon gave us a glimpse of his talent and with a full offseason under his belt, he is expected to have come back better than ever. With an increased role, Tyler is going to need to have a stronger body ready for more minutes and contact. This team will go as far as Lydon wants them to go. Come Tuesday night, Syracuse will begin to find out if the work he was doing this summer will pay off.

So…who’s playing point guard?

This has been a question throughout the offseason as the Orange kept bringing in more talent. With the return of Frank Howard and the arrival of John Gillon, Boeheim is faced with a tough decision. Does he go with the veteran transfer in Gillon, or with his own recruit who showed promise last season in Howard? No matter who starts, both guards will play extended minutes, but having a leader and a tone setter at the point will get the Orange off to a fast start.

Against a team like Indiana University (PA.), both guards will have a chance to dominate during their time on the floor. It’s just a matter of who will dominate more. Both players have the ability to lead this team to the promised land, but it’s going to be up to Boeheim and his opinion on who should have the keys to his ship.