2007 Syracuse Orange Basketball Preview
Last season, the Syracuse Orange (24- 11 overall, 10- 6 Big East) did better than many thought they would as the team finished tied for fifth in the league and went to the NIT quarterfinals where they lost to Clemson 74- 70. Coach Jim Boeheim (750- 264 in 31 years at Syracuse and overall) has lost three starters from last season but welcomes some exceptional freshmen and solid vets.
The Orange struggled on defense last season as they allowed opponents 68.0 PPG, ranking them 13th in the conference. Under the basket and holding onto the ball were both problematic for Syracuse and the NCAA basketball odds. The club was 13th in turnovers (15.0 TPG) and 11th in rebounding margin (plus-1.1). Syracuse was ranked third in scoring, hitting for an average of 75.6 PPG, and fifth in assists, dishing off 14.9 APG. To be competitive, they’ll need to bang harder inside and manage the ball better.
The frontcourt certainly has talent, and it is also certainly inexperienced. Freshman Donte Greene will likely start at forward. Greene, who’s a fine three-point shooter, is one of the most gifted front men in the nation. Sophomore Paul Harris (8.6 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 43.3 FG%) can do everything but shoot. He’s a big, muscular presence in the paint. Junior college recruit Kristof Ongenaet can score and rebound. He’ll be a veteran presence in his first season with the Orange.
The backcourt has three guards returning. Junior Eric Devendorf (14.8 PPG, 4.1 APG, 41.2 FG%), the best of the lot, can score, but the turnover prone guard must be more careful with the ball. Who will be the other guard? Well, it may not be one of the vets. Freshman Jonny Flynn is an All-Star guard in the making.
It’s tough to determine how the team will fare this season in the NCAA basketball picks. There’s talent on board and Boeheim knows how to build a winner. In 2007- 2008, it probably won’t be the NIT for the Orange but the NCAA tournament. Is there championship potential here? Probably not but there’s certainly a competitive team that should be one of the top-50 clubs in the nation and a consideration when we bet on college hoops.