What is the media good for if it doesn’t provide “way way too early” tournament predictions. Well at least it’s from a Syracuse scope and not a 68 team pool. But in all seriousness, Syracuse can make a national championship run. Yeah, you read that right.
In regards to a title contending program, it needs to fulfill three categories: comradery, depth and an identity. So, let’s break it down one by one.
This is where most readers will click off this page or comment below that the writer of this article is crazy, mainly because this year’s group is filled with newcomers. That is true but the counter argument would be practice time and reports from the players themselves.
The fact that Boeheim’s Syracuse career has included two Sweet 16 runs, but this year’s group is the tightest, says a lot about the productivity of the offseason and the faces that make up such a well-oiled team. Togetherness is what has been missing for the past couple of seasons with new recruits having to adapt to bigger roles and transfers filling the void of departing veterans.
If SU rides the ship as one, rather than relying on one individual to captain the ship each game, then that’s a recipe for success in Central New York.
This category has felt irrelevant in the past with the six to seven man rotation that Coach Beoehim often sticks with. But 2021 is a lot different. Boeheim doesn’t have to hang his hat on developing players when a four-star is the only featured freshman and the rest are older, experienced players. Instead of hoping that Quincy Guerrier and Jesse Edwards find their stride after a month, Boeheim has options with Cole Swider, Symir Torrence and Jimmy Boehiem, who have all experienced the college basketball ringer at top notch programs.
If veterans perform as such, it takes pressure off Boeheim’s shoulders and gives integral pieces time to rest and recharge.
As much as the starters matter this season, the bench could have more of an impact on how deep the postseason runs are for the Orange. That’s something that many in the Syracuse media haven’t been able to mutter for the last few seasons. Depth is the reason SU won’t falter as they did against Houston to close out March earlier this year.
Finally, this aspect is always blurry. No one knows when an identity will surface with any given team and it has plenty of opportunities to change from game to game. But when it’s all said and done, the team that exemplifies a certain trait and sticks with it has more success than one that relies on “whatever is working” to win. That’s especially true in a college basketball format circling the importance of “one game means a lot in the grand scheme of things.”
The identity of last season was jumbled. It cleared up as the tournament rolled around and rested upon: “live and die by the three, and the play of Buddy Boeheim.” As shown in early 2021, that is far from sustainable. It’s important to inject an identity early in order to deter from falling flat.
This team’s identity needs to be established prior to ACC play. As competition stiffens, It becomes all the more important to attach to a pair of ideals. If those aren’t already drilled into your head, scroll up a bit and it’ll make more sense.
For those who are still wondering: SU’s embodiment of comradery and utilization of depth ultimately forms the identity of a championship team. An equation SU has the formula for, with the upcoming season as the indicator if the Orange can solve it correctly