The No. 2 Syracuse Orange are in the midst of a week-long break as they prepare for the Villanova Wildcats to travel to the Carrier Dome on Saturday, Dec. 28.
Had Villanova (11-0) not been ranked No. 8 in the country, the storyline might have been about the surprising start to the Orange season. As it is, Villanova’s impressive start has the basketball world talking, which makes it seem like the pundits expected Syracuse to start the season 11-0.
They did not.
With the loss of Michael Carter-Williams, Brandon Triche and James Southerland, and a freshman point guard running the show, this season was supposed to be a slow build to greatness. Their hot start is certainly worth noting, but No. 2 in the land might be a tad premature.
Syracuse’s shiny ranking is more luck of the draw than talent, at the moment. The Orange happened to be ranked high enough to start the season that after a few teams ahead of them fell, there was nowhere to go but up.
This game against Villanova should tell us more about how worthy the Orange are of their ranking.
We have, however, had the first trimester of the season to observe the Orange. The direction of the team has become clearer, and areas of strength, concern and weakness are all visible.
What is also visible is how wrong we (the experts) were in our prognostications for this upcoming season. For full disclosure, I believe I was pretty dead on in my predictions of this season, as you can read here, but there are areas where my fellow observers and I were a bit off in our predictions.
I, for one, believed that Rakeem Christmas would have a make-or-break season. To date, he is still a heck of an athlete and a great defender, but the scoring just hasn’t happened, meaning I need a new set of tea leaves because he is still the same player he was last season.
Here are five other areas we had it wrong when predicting the Syracuse season.