2015-16 Syracuse basketball preview: Season outlook

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Syracuse needs Coleman to stay healthy

There is a very wide range of potential outcomes for Syracuse this season. With Boeheim’s month-long absence looming, a tough non-conference schedule and the usual wars in ACC play, the short roster, and the team’s need for Coleman to be healthy and produce, it is not hard to predict doom and gloom for the Orange.

There are still many reasons for hope. This year’s Orange should shoot a lot better than last year’s group, especially from three-point range, where they barely made 30 percent of their treys as a squad. Cooney and Gbinije have established the ability to make threes, all three freshmen can shoot (Richardson dropped three triples on Le Moyne in under 80 seconds), and Joseph has reportedly spent a lot of time working on his shot.

While this team lacks size down low, it does have pretty good athleticism and, if Gbinije plays a lot at point guard, he and Cooney are capable of creating many turnovers from the top line of the 2-3 zone. Speaking of Gbinije, he is a different and better player when aggressive, so if he can show killer instinct throughout the season, he could single-handedly keep SU in some games.

» Related: 2015-16 Syracuse basketball preview: Schedule analysis

Roberson is an offseason stronger and could be a nightly double-double threat. Reports on Coleman have all been positive, as was his 22-plus minute showing against Le Moyne, and lots of experts think Lydon can outperform
expectations.

Based on the team’s 31-game schedule and all the questions, you could make a viable case for any final record from 12-19 to 23-8. If there are health issues, things could settle near the bottom end of that spectrum. With the lack of experienced players with size behind him, any Coleman injury relapses could cause the season to crater.

But, if he can play, and play well, the top end of that range looks possible. However, after so much time off, it is hard to count on that. It will be another bumpy ride for Syracuse where they will be fortunate to be on the NCAA Tournament bubble and maybe even get a ticket to the dance.

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Jim Stechschulte

About Jim Stechschulte

A 1996 graduate of Syracuse University, Jim has reported on Syracuse sports for the Syracuse University Alumni Club of Southern California on nearly a decade, where he currently resides. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. Follow him on Twitter @DSafetyGuy.
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