Practice has started and four exhibition games have already been played, with only two more to go before the Syracuse Orange tip off their season on Friday, November 8, against Cornell University.
There are high expectations for the Orange this season, but those expectations are fastened to the hard court on a contingency.
Will freshman Tyler Ennis be able to lead the Orange attack as their predominant and only true point guard?
Will anyone, including Jerami Grant, Rakeem Christmas and DaJuan Coleman, have a breakout season?
How will the Orange adjust to their first year in the ACC?
...and so on.
Syracuse and its stalwart coach, Jim Boeheim, have the pieces in place for a successful run this season, but several holes will have to be filled and several needs will have to be satisfied.
Gone are James Southerland, Brandon Triche and Michael Carter-Williams, three of the Orange’s top four scorers last season. Stepping into the prime-time roles will be the aforementioned Christmas, Coleman and Grant, who will all look to senior C.J. Fair to be the lightning rod for a team that made it all the way to the Final Four just a half-year ago.
Syracuse will put a team on the floor that is a mix of experience (Fair) and youth (Ennis) with everyone else falling in between. How these bookends guide Syracuse will decide how far the Orange road will go, but there are a few pretty big concerns for Syracuse that will have great influence on this team’s immediate future.
Let’s take a look at which factors could make or break the Orange season.