Jim Boeheim’s Syracuse Orange began their final season in the Big East with a 25-point dismantling of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. The No. 7 Orange (13-1, 1-0 Big East) played a nearly perfect game led by senior Brandon Triche’s 25 points and another stellar performance from Michael Carter-Williams.
Boeheim, who just passed Bob Knight for second on the all-time Division I wins list with No. 903, will need an effort similar to the Rutgers game if his team is to survive the giant bull’s eye on its back. The Big East is already looking to be a race to the top between No. 4 Louisville (13-1, 1-0) and Syracuse, and neither team will sneak up on any team.
So, what’s to stop them?
Truthfully, not much, but this team is young and certainly not unbeatable, as Temple proved just before Christmas at Madison Square Garden.
We know the Orange have enough veteran leadership to keep the youth in check and has enough firepower to find a hot hand, rather than force one. Defensively, this bunch is opportunistic, rebounds better than in the past few years and has enough length in the box to deter most comers.
Syracuse has enough positives to outweigh its negatives, but a closer look at what could stand in the way of Syracuse’s success, especially by the Orange, could go a long way toward avoiding disappointment.
Let's take a look at what the possible stumbling blocks for the Orange could be.