27-8 overall, 12-6 Big East (T-3rd)
Jim Boeheim (35th season, 856-301)
Projected starting five:
G: Scoop Jardine, Sr.
G: Brandon Triche, Jr.
F: Kris Joseph, Sr.
F: C.J. Fair, So.
C: Fab Melo, So.
Rick Jackson 13.1 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 35 mpg
Inside the numbers:
82 percent scoring returning
72 percent rebounding returning
C: Rakeem Christmas, 6’8”, 200 – Rivals #27
G: Michael Carter-Williams, 6’4” 175 – Rivals #29
Toughest nonconference game: 12/2 vs. (10) Florida
Toughest in-conference stretch: 2/8 – 2-13 vs. Georgetown, vs. (4) Connecticut, at (8) Louisville
1st in BE; 25+ wins; Final Four
What to expect:
A lot, frankly. Syracuse lost only Rick Jackson off their 2010-11 roster and added two top 30 recruits in Rakeem Christmas and Michael Carter-Williams. Ranked in the preseason poll at No. 5 in the nation, a talented and experienced Orange are national title contenders.
The one knock on the Cuse last year was that despite being superior athletes in nearly every game, they sometimes played down to their competition. After an 18-0 start and rising to No. 3 in the rankings, the Orange lost six of their next eight games. The most frustrating part was when they decided to play, they could knock off anyone, including eventual national champs UConn.
An upper-class-laden team, this looks to be Syracuse’s best chance for a national title since Carmelo Anthony was there. Scoop Jardine, Kris Joseph, Brandon Triche and Fab Melo all should be NBA prospects, and there is no telling how long they will stick around upstate New York.