Questions will certainly rise regarding Syracuse's fall to the fourth overall seed in the tournament—could the Orange's demise have stemmed from Onuaku's injury status? Is he more hurt than Syracuse is willing to indicate?
These questions alone make Onuaku a game-changer. Although Syracuse is an extremely balanced team that spreads the ball and has no obvious superstar (compared to the other players) and should handle Vermont in the first round (although 2005 memories spring into mind), Onuaku is an integral piece of the Orange's puzzle in the following rounds.
Onuaku has great size and strength that often overwhelms defenders. A great finisher around the basket, he is a great companion to Jackson down low and figures out ways to score (he has deceptively good speed).
He is also an intimidating presence in the middle of Syracuse's zone.
Numbers-wise, Onuaku isn't the "focal" point of Syracuse's offense (the offensive efficiency for the team is extremely balanced), but he just offers such a great presence to the team.
Onuaku will be needed against Gonzaga's Robert Sacre or Florida State's Solomon Alabi, two of the nation's top centers.
Rautins is another integral piece to the Syracuse. Although he scores only 11.7 PPG and carries a 113.8 offensive rating (which is good but ranked near 200th nationally), he is a great floor leader and bar-setter for his Syracuse team. Syracuse goes as Rautins goes.
A potential matchup against Florida State's guards could be interesting, since Kitchen/Loucks/Doulkys are pretty good defensively and heckle ball-handlers.