Syracuse Basketball

Will the Syracuse Orange Cut the Nets Down in April?

ROSEMONT, IL - JANUARY 30: Wes Johnson #4 of the Syracuse Orange drives around Mike Stovall #1 of the DePaul Blue Demons at the Allstate Arena on January 30, 2010 in Rosemont, Illinois. Syracuse defeated DePaul 59-57. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Adam BiggersSenior Analyst IIFebruary 9, 2010

The 2009-10 college basketball season will go down as one to remember.

With the amount of talent in this year's landscape, 2009-10 has been one of the most exciting years in the sport in over a decade.

The Big East is the nation's elite conference, there's no argument there. The conference boasts four top 10 teams and will likely produce this year's national champion.

The Kansas Jayhawks are the top-ranked squad in the country, but are they the best?

Is the land's best team in the Big East, and if so, is it Jim Boeheim's Syracuse Orange?

Led by 6'7" forward Wesley Johnson's 16.2 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, the Orange (23-1, 10-1) continue devour every opponent unfortunate enough to be on its menu. 

If there's any question about who the best player in college basketball is, Johnson may have the answer. He's been nothing short of spectacular and is the glue that holds the Orange offense together.

Speaking of offense, Boeheim's boys put up over 80 points per night, while giving up just 64.

Do the math: It translates to blowing out competitors on a game-by-game basis.

Andy Rautins has been another key component of the Orange's success. Rautins is second on the team in assists with just under five (4.9) per night and contributes 10.7 points per outing.

Bench production is a "bench-mark" of any great team—the Orange have that covered. The Orange have a significant advantage with the likes of Kris Joseph (11.2 ppg) and Scoop Jardine (eight ppg) coming off the pine.

Need a reliable big man?

'Cuse has one in 6'9", 261 pound Arinze Onuaku. What Onuaku lacks in height, he makes up for by throwing his weight around. He can play 30 plus minutes a night, and clears the glass when called upon (4.6 rpg, 10.3 ppg). If he's able to stay out of foul trouble, Onuaku is a viable post-option for Boeheim's club at any time.

What about a strong freshman?

There's one at Syracuse, and his name is Brandon Triche. Having a super-frosh seems to be en vogue lately, and Triche is no slouch. He's been consistent at times, logging 25-30 minutes a game and scoring 12-15 points in those instances.

Prone to the turnover bug, Triche will have to learn to secure the rock in coming years. But as far as freshman are concerned, there's not too many that are superior to Triche.

The Orange's 6'7" sophomore forward Kris Joseph has been a man possessed in his last five games. Joseph has had a hot hand, averaging about 17 points in his last handful of contests. Keep an eye out for him; he's young, but is steadily becoming an important part of Boeheim's offense.

The groundwork has been laid for another successful Orange run come March. The checklist is solid, and with Boeheim behind the wheel, the Orange will be a deadly draw for any team in the nation.

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