During the season, The Juice Online will tackle a burning question about the Syracuse basketball team in “Tipoff Countdown.”
Today’s topic: How confident are you that Syracuse will work its way around the loss of DaJuan Coleman?
On Monday night, Syracuse announced that starting center DaJuan Coleman will be out the next four weeks because he “will have a surgical procedure done on his left knee on Tuesday, January 29.”
That leaves Syracuse in a precarious situation. The Orange looked to be one of the NCAA’s deepest teams this year, with a rotation that went 9-deep. Now, without Coleman and with James Southerland out due to an NCAA eligibility issue, SU has only seven scholarship players available in the rotation.
Coleman hasn’t been much of a factor for the Orange in conference play. In seven Big East games, Coleman is averaging just 7.8 minutes, 1.7 points and 0.8 rebounds. He only played seven minutes in Syracuse’s 75-71 overtime loss to Villanova on Saturday, and went scoreless.
But Syracuse’s loss to Villanova showed that the forwards must avoid foul trouble. While Coleman didn’t appear in overtime, perhaps that can in part be attributed to his knee. Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim chose to go with Brandon Triche at the wing, something that Triche simply isn’t suited for.
Or, that perhaps that’s being overly generous to Coleman, who has struggled mightily on both ends of the floor when he’s been in the game. Though Coleman had started every game this season, he was more of a ceremonial starter in the same way that Rakeem Christmas and Fab Melo were in their freshman seasons.
At the very least, Coleman was five fouls a game, and gave the Orange some depth on the front line that has been without Southerland for the last four games. Without Coleman, be prepared to see more of the three guard lineup with Triche playing out at wing. While it makes Syracuse more dangerous on the offensive end, Saturday also showed that it makes SU susceptible to giving up offensive rebounds.