And so it begins.
The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball officially tips off the 2020-21 season as SU takes on Bryant today at 3 p.m. ET. The team has been on temporary pause, but returned to practice yesterday for the first time since identifying two positive COVID tests within the program.
Bryant has traveled to Syracuse after having its game against Stony Brook cancelled on Wednesday. The Bulldogs finished 15-17 last season and 7-11 in the Northeast Conference with a young squad. They’ve added a few transfers in the offseason, including Siena transfer (and Syracuse native) Luke Sutherland as well as former Wake Forest player Melo Eggleston.
With the season officially underway, the TNIAAM crew gave their predictions for today’s matchup.
Syracuse 68, Bryant 57
I’m expecting a sloppy game as both teams open the season. With no fans it will be interesting to see how the teams shoot from 3. The Orange should be able to rely on their size to keep Bryant playing from behind.
Syracuse 77, Bryant 61
I don’t think Cuse will crack 80 because it’s the first game, you know how that goes. I have Bryant scoring only 61 because the zone will contain them, the 2-3 is always reliable.
Syracuse 80, Bryant 55
These early season games aren’t usually the best barometer to judge how well the team will perform against conference opponents. That said, I think that the season opener will be a great look at how Syracuse decides to attack opponents without Elijah Hughes. Is the bulk of the scoring concentrated in the backcourt, or can the forwards build some confidence in the frontcourts against theoretical weaker opposition? This game could tell where Jim Boeheim has placed his offensive confidence in this season. It should be an easy win, but beware of any offensive inconsistencies that flared up at times last year. That could be another problem that needs to be solved quickly before conference play.
Syracuse 81, Bryant 60
The Orange come out looking a little rusty given the lack of practice time lately, but ultimately close out Bryant without much drama. Threes carry the offense and the defense looks like it’ll still need a little more time, so… exactly what you figured going into this season.
Syracuse 79, Bryant 59
Expect Syracuse to be a little rusty as the team attempts to get its collective legs back underneath them following the temporary pause. Bryant is a sneaky team, but it’s still be outmatched in this one. Syracuse looks a little shaky to start but the Orange should win the rebounding battle against a smaller team, even in the 2-3 zone. Syracuse’s shooting rounds into form as the game rolls on and SU cruises to a relatively easy win in the season opener.
Now it’s your turn. Make your prediction in the poll and join in on the conversation in the comment section.