With 17 games in the books, the No. 2 Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team is unblemished and looking like a title contender.
Syracuse (17-0, 4-0 ACC) is using a talented mix of youth and experience to climb to the top of the ACC and in a down year for the formidable conference, the Orange are the runaway favorite to capture the conference crown in their first year in the league.
It hasn’t all been roses, though.
While Syracuse is winning with solid defense and timely shooting, poor perimeter defense has allowed seemingly inferior opponents to stay competitive in games. Teams such as Villanova and Boston College were able to land early body blows to the Orange with three-point shooting but were not able to find scoring from other areas. Should the Orange run into a team that is able to sink its threes and work an inside-out game, they could end up in trouble.
As it is, however, Syracuse has shown that it can excel when needed. There isn't any one facet of the Orange game opponents fear, but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The Orange clamp down on defense whenever threatened and when shots aren't falling, Tyler Ennis and company find ways to drive to the rim to keep games manageable.
The Orange will host the No. 22 Pittsburgh Panthers (15-1, 3-0) on Saturday, in what is shaping up to be the fight for the title of king of the ACC mountain.
In the mean time, we will take a look back at some of the highs and lows of the season.