As we countdown to the start of the college basketball season, The Juice Online will tackle a burning question about the Syracuse basketball team in “Tipoff Countdown.”
Today’s topic: With a week to go until the start of the college basketball season, we’re going to make some predictions for the 2012-13 season. What are some of yours?
As we gear up for the exhibition schedule to start on Thursday, Nov. 1, I figured I would make some blind predictions based on patterns, history, and some good old-fashion gut instinct. I might be eating my words as soon as Thanksgiving, but let’s give it a shot:
1. CJ Fair will average 12 points and 8 boards per game.
This one is based on what we’ve seen from Fair over his first two years on campus. As his minutes increased, so did his productivity. With his playing time likely to increase to 30+ minutes per game as a junior leader, his production should stabilize and the stat sheet will reflect this. Last season he saw 30 minutes or more in 11 games. He averaged 11.8 points and 7.5 rebounds in those contests.
2. Four players will average double digits in scoring
Last year’s team was a case study in a balanced attack with 7 players averaging 7ppg or more, and only two averaging 10ppg or more. This year I expect balance, but in a more concentrated dose. James Southerland, Michael Carter-Willams, Brandon Triche, and Fair will all average double digits. DaJuan Coleman will be close, but not there this season.
3. Rakeem Christmas will struggle for meaningful minutes
DaJuan Coleman is already more polished offensively, Keita is a better defender, and Syracuse will likely go small a lot, meaning Christmas, despite adding 20 pounds of mostly muscle, will be invisible to Jim Boeheim in close games. I expect only a slight increase in minutes from 11.5 mpg last year to about 15 this season.
4. Brandon Triche will lead the Orange in scoring
He averaged 8.1, 11.4 and 9.4 points per game in his first three seasons as the seventh and then the fourth option. This year he is in the conversation for No. 1 option. That’s a HUGE jump, and one that will come with an increased scoring load, around 14 to 15 per game to be exact. I don’t think Southerland will be consistent, even though he will probably lead the team in scoring on a few nights, and I expect Fair to be consistently around that 12 point mark most games. With those guys carrying their weight, opposing defenses won’t be able to nor compelled to key in on Triche, allowing him to attack the rim and spot up for open shots. Basically he will be able to continue doing what he has throughout his career, only this season with more opportunities yielding more points.
5. Michael Carter-Williams will have a 30 point game
This one is a complete hunch but he’s just too good. With the exception of the St. John’s game last season where he scored 13 points in 17 minutes on 5-of-6 shooting, MCW did not get to showcase his talents. He is a multidimensional guard who might be playing point, but has a scorer’s mentality. I believe he’ll go off one night, probably in January against Rutgers or Villanova as the Carrier Dome crowd goes crazy.