During the season, The Juice Online will tackle a burning question about the Syracuse basketball team in “Tipoff Countdown.”
Today’s topic: What is the impact of James Southerland’s return for Syracuse?
The Orange got good news on Sunday morning, as the Post-Standard reported that James Southerland won his academic appeal. He will be eligible today to play against St. John’s after a six-game absence over a dispute around a term paper he wrote last year, according to the Post-Standard. The story was also confirmed by the New York Daily News.
Now that Southerland is back, The Juice Online’s Mike Chandler and Jeff Irvine discussed the impact of the senior forward’s return:
Mike Chandler: James Southerland brings back the trailing game in the transition, which will help out Michael Carter-Williams on offense. The kick-out 3-pointer is back, too, which means that Carter-Williams’ assist numbers will go back up. It will open up the paint for drives, which will help Brandon Triche and “The CW.” With Jerami Grant having proven himself to be a 25-30 minute per game player with Southerlad out, you have a solid back line rotation that will keep everyone fresh to help them be more active on defense. It will be interesting to see when DaJuan Coleman comes back whether he’ll get any playing time now that Grant and Rakeem Christmas have improved.
Jeff Irvine: Southerland is going to bring “Taco Time!” back to the Dome. Syracuse hadn’t gotten above 75 points at the Dome since Southerland was out the past six games. He’s going to help their transition game as well their halfcourt set by spreading the floor. Defensively, the Orange will probably give up more points per game, but it will be more than made up for by his offensive output — not because he’s a bad defender, but because Southerland is a guy that speeds up the tempo of the game. With Southerland on the court, you’ll see the halfcourt sets develop more quickly, leading to more possessions throughout the course of the game, allowing the Orange to go back to the pace they prefer. Southerland’s return will also mark the end of Cooney’s run of increased playing time. When Triche or Carter-Williams need rest, they have the option of using Southerland at the top of the key as the second guard. That’s especially true now that Grant has proven that he is a capable defender in the zone.