Syracuse Basketball: Ranking Jim Boeheim's Biggest Worries This Season
Jim Boeheim might not seem like a man who has a lot to worry about.
Coaching the No. 7 team in the nation, you'd expect that he would be able to sleep easy, but his Syracuse Orange are giving him a few things to be stressed about.
As his Syracuse basketball team gets into the heart of its schedule, these are the five things that could keep him up at night.
5. The Strength of the Big East
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The strength of the Big East is far from the No. 1 thing Boeheim is worrying about, but it is still a factor.
The Big East is arguably the second best conference in college basketball this year. It boasts several good teams, including Notre Dame, Connecticut, Georgetown, Cincinnati and the No. 1 team in the country, Louisville.
The Orange must travel to Louisville on Saturday, and that has to worry Boeheim.
4. James Southerland Can't Come Back
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As you probably know by now, Syracuse lost its second-leading scorer James Southerland to suspension on Saturday due to an eligibility issue (via USA Today).
Southerland was key for this team, as his ability to drop four or five threes on any given night extended the defense and gave the Orange instant offense off the bench.
Southerland's 13.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game will be sorely missed, as will his defensive enthusiasm in Boeheim's 2-3 zone.
Freshman Jerami Grant will be looked to to replace the senior, and while he certainly has potential, he is not the same player by any stretch of the imagination.
Boeheim really wants Southerland back, but we don't know how long he'll be out, and he could miss the rest of the season.
3. Someone Finally Figures Out His 2-3 Zone
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Boeheim has been using his 2-3 zone since the beginning of time, and it's helped him become the second-winningest coach of all-time.
However, he always has a slight concern that someone will finally figure out how to beat his zone, and that the rest of the nation will take note.
It's worked for the 1,211 games of his coaching career, but what will happen in Game No. 1,212?
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Injury is something every team worries about, and Syracuse is no different.
Boeheim's squad is already thinner than usual with Southerland suspended, and a big injury could really hurt the team right now.
If senior leader Brandon Triche or sensational forward C.J. Fair go down, the team could be in serious trouble.
1. Michael Carter-Williams Struggles
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The play of Michael Carter-Williams has become the most important part of Syracuse basketball.
The sophomore point guard has worked his way into the National Player of the Year conversation because of his incredibly play, averaging a nation-leading 9.4 assists per game, as well as 11.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.2 steals per game.
However, there have been times when he struggles.
Against Temple, MCW shot 3-of-17 from the floor and 7-of-15 from the line, as the team lost by four.
MCW has become the key to the team's offense, and when he struggles the team struggles. Boeheim has to make sure that his point guard is ready for every game on the schedule.