Syracuse Orange 2016-17 College Basketball Preview

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Losing three starters plummets the Syracuse Orange to +1800 to win the 2017 title.

Syracuse Orange

Title Odds: +1800

Odds c/o Bovada

Syracuse made an improbable run to the Final Four last year as a No. 10 seed. The surprises are now over, as the Orange come in to 2016-17 at +1800 on oddsmaker Bovada to secure 2017 NCAA title. Jim Boeheim has led Syracuse to five Final Four appearances, but it will be tough to maintain with NCAA sanctions coming and three starters from last year’s squad gone.

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The loss of one-and-done phenom Malachi Richardson stings as hard as any, as the freshman became the Orange’s third major prospect to buck after just one season.

And so, here the Orange are with just nine scholarship players to field their roster. Despite that sanction, the frontcourt packs depth. Three key rotation bigs return from last year’s team, with DaJuan Coleman and Tyler Roberson slated to start at the 4/5 spots.

Tyler Lydon is the one to watch, though.

Lydon is a 6’8” sophomore who averaged 10 points and six boards last season while playing 30 minutes a night off the Orange bench. He has shooting range and is an elite athlete. Last season, Lydon blocked 20 shots in the five March Madness games, and his rejection against Gonzaga helped seal up the Sweet 16 win. He is ready to take it to the next level.

Coleman is a 6’9” fifth-year senior who started every game last season. He had battled injuries his first three seasons at Syracuse, but his health was a major boon and the Orange certainly hope it stays that way. He put in a summer of work on his post skills and could show major improvements now that he is not dealing with the nagging injuries that slowed him the bulk of his time at Syracuse.

Roberson averaged 8.5 rebounds per game last season, and he had 14 points and 20 karoms at Duke. Inconsistency has been his biggest issue, but he did tally eight points and 11 boards per game during the tournament run. Having a 7’2” backup center in Paschal Chukwu will be a nice way to supplement it off the bench, and freshmen Taurean Thompson and Matthew Moyer will bring some depth, though neither will likely see big minutes this season.

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The backcourt is where some problems arise for Syracuse. They lost their starting backcourt tandem of Gbinje and Cooney, and Richardson is gone, too. That was Syracuse’s top-three scorers last season, and the trio took over 700 threes. That is a lot to just replace. Franklin Howard and Colorado State transfer John Gillon will take over the two starting spots. Howard averaged just 10 minutes per game last season, but he came on late in the year.

Gillon is a speed demon and could be a great point guard, but he is a waterbug. Bigger backcourts (like Kentucky for instance) will give Gillon and the Orange fits this season. Tyus Battle will be in the mix, too, and he could be one of the best freshman guards in the ACC this season. His outside shot is somewhat suspect, but the Orange do not lack talent: just experience and the fact that the team lost its major performers from a year ago.

Boheim can make it work, but the sanctions truly do hurt. This program needs the depth the sanctions have zapped, and this is something of a rebuilding year which is odd for a team coming off such a great run last March. Richardson was that good, though.

Get in on the winnings for 2016-17 NCAA and NBA basketball. We’ll be dominating the books as usual, so get in on the gravy!

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