Syracuse could be missing out on the NCAA Tournament in consecutive years for the first time in a decade, and for just the third time during Jim Boeheim’s 38-year tenure. There’s a chance it could be Syracuse’s first losing season in almost 40 years. Being frank: the Orange simply aren’t talented this year.
Last year was a very disappointing season for the Orange, as they started off as the No. 18 team in the nation but ended up missing the NCAA Tournament. Syracuse went on to win just one game in the NIT despite being a No. 1 seed.
‘Cuse certainly did have some impressive wins, including victories over Florida State, Virginia and Duke, but some of its losses were nearly embarrassing, especially those to UConn, Boston College and St. John’s.
Even with the tolerable talent the group had last season, Syracuse had difficulty winning throughout the season. With a much different roster this year, the Orange could have a very, very long season ahead of them.
The losses Syracuse suffered this offseason were undoubtedly substantial and damaging. Its top two scorers, Andrew White III (18.5 PPG) and Tyler Lydon (13.2 PPG), both departured from the team this offseason; the latter being selected as a first-round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Guard John Gillon, who averaged 10.5 points per game, graduated, while freshman big man Taurean Thompson transferred to Seton Hall to play under Kevin Willard. Moreover, role contributors in DaJuan Coleman and Tyler Roberson both graduated.
What Does This Leave the Orange With?
Barely any returning pieces. Guard Tyus Battle (11.3 PPG) will carry an extremely heavy load during his sophomore campaign. Frank Howard (4.5 PPG) returns for his senior year as well, but will merely be the second-highest returning scorer from last year’s squad. With only 26 percent of their points returning in the 2017-18 season, it does not look overly pretty for the Orange this upcoming season.
The incoming freshman are rather disappointing as well. Syracuse didn’t land a single player within the top-100 prospects on 247Sports. Boeheim only grabbed one 4-star prospect in Marek Dolezaj, a 6’9″ wing from Slovakia. Three three-star prospects are also newcomers on campus: small forward O’Shae Brissett, power forward Bourama Sidibe, and guard Howard Washington.
Syracuse’s recruiting class ranked No. 8 in the ACC, according to 247Sports. The quartet of freshmen are surely not enough talent to fill the shoes of the several subtractions from last year’s team. However, redshirt freshman Matthew Moyer could make a considerable difference for the Orange this season. The Ohio native ranked as the No. 66 senior in the class of 2016 and has gotten plenty of practice with Syracuse’s team over the course of his time on campus.
Time will tell how good, or bad, Syracuse is this season. It certainly appears that it could be one of Syracuse’s worst seasons in some time, as well as one of Boeheim’s worst ever.